I am crazy for poached pears! I love the texture, taste and the way they marry so beautifully with other flavors. Serve them with chocolate syrup, a red wine sauce, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar (I know it sounds weird, but it is an amazing combo if you use really great vinegar).
Here they are dished up with a raspberry sauce and vanilla ice-cream. Skip the ice cream and you will have a delicious no-fat treat. You can dress this dessert up or down, serving to the family or to a crowd at a dinner party.
1 3/4 cups water
4 small pears, peeled and cored and halved
1 cup sugar
2 cups raspberries (I use frozen except for a few fresh to garnish)
Vanilla Ice cream
Mint leaves for garnish
Additional flavoring options- you can add other flavors to the poaching liquid to give the pears a subtle taste of vanilla, cinnamon, wine. For vanilla, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the poaching liquid. For cinnamon, toss a cinnamon stick in the poaching syrup and for the wine, follow the directions here.
Squeeze the lemon juice from half of the lemon into a shallow bowl or plate. Use this juice to rub on the freshly peeled and cut pears so they don’t discolor.
In a saucepan over medium heat bring the water and sugar to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add the juice from the other half of the lemon. Place pears in the liquid and simmer for 10-15 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit, until the pears are tender but still firm. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Remove 3/4 of a cup of the poaching liquid and place it in a small saucepan with the raspberries. Cook just until the raspberries become soft and begin to disperse in the liquid. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or puree in a food processor and then strain through a sieve.
Throw out the pulp and return the raspberry coulis to the saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes to reduce it a bit. Place the sauce in a container and chill until cold.
To serve, pour some of the raspberry coulis on a plate or in a shallow bowl, place the pears on top of the sauce, add a scoop or two of ice cream and garnish with fresh berries and mint sprigs.
This is a great recipe to make for a dinner party as you can poach the pears and make the sauce a day ahead of time and then pull it all together just before serving.
If you do plan on making it ahead of time, I suggest using a pinch of something like Fruit Fresh to insure that the pears don’t brown. Keep the pears in the liquid, in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.