‘Tis the Season: Poached Pears
First of all, to stay on point: Happy New Year’s, everyone! Here’s to a gratifying, healthy 2012. Too bad it won’t last all the way through…you know, with those damn Mayans’ predictions and whatnot. My resolution remains unchanged from last year: get on a running regimen and keep it up until it’s nice enough outside to hop back on the bike. It worked last year, and I hope it works this year, too!
Now, the food–I’ve never made poached pears before. In fact, the only thing I’ve ever even attempted to poach was chicken. However, at this year’s Christmas Eve dinner, all the desserts were chocolate and cake, so I figured it would be worth a shot to throw some fruit into the occasion. The result? Well, these spectacular poached pears. The only terrifying thing for me was working with saffron–I’d never tried it before, and the spice is so insanely expensive that I was worried I would somehow waste it. Well, good news: I didn’t. The pears came out great, and it’s easy to call this recipe another winner from Bon Appetit!
Poached Pears with Cardamom and Saffron (from Bon Appetit)
- 1/2 tablespoon cardamom pods
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 4 firm pears, peeled, stems intact
Gently crush cardamom with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet to slightly crack open pods without releasing seeds. Combine cardamom, wine, sugar, lemon juice, saffron, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer. Add pears; add water if needed to completely submerge pears. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer, turning occasionally, until pears are tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a plate. Increase heat and boil poaching liquid until reduced to 1 cup, 10–15 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate pears. Let syrup stand at room temperature. Rewarm syrup before continuing.
Spoon some of syrup over cold or room-temperature pears. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche; pass remaining syrup.