Poached pears always seemed like such a posh adult dessert to prepare. I pictured it as something you serve people you need to behave around, – your parents’ generation and bosses.
Then I realised how surprising easy is it to make poached pears. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, and you can make it days in advance. Once poached, the pears can keep in the fridge to be served with whatever accompaniments you like.
To make 8 poached pears for a dinner party; I used a bottle of red wine (750ml) and added more water to the poached liquid to cover to cover the fruit.
500ml red wine
1 cup sugar
peel from one orange
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla pods, seeds scrapped (or 2 tsp vanilla paste)
2 Tbsp sugar
250g dark chocolate (I used Whittaker’s Dark Cacao), chopped
125g, unsalted butter, cubed
Vanilla ice-cream, or crème anglaise
To make macadamia crumbs, preheat oven to 200°C. Place macadamias on a baking paper and sprinkle sugar over them. Bake for 10 minutes until golden, turning once. Cool, process in a food processor until it resembles crumbs.
To make chocolate ganache, – stir chocolate and butter over a double boiler until just melted. Set aside until required.
Peel, halve and core pears.
To poach pears, combine all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (poaching time depends on how hard or soft the pears are). Test with tip of a small knife, if it cuts through the pear with ease, remove pears from liquid and set aside. If not, continue to simmer, and check at 10-minute intervals.
Reduce the liquid to about 1 cup. Pour over pears, cool until needed. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for several days.
To serve, arrange two halves on a plate. Spoon over some of the syrup. Sprinkle a large tablespoon of macadamia crumble, and pipe or make chocolate ganache quenelles. Add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, or drizzle some crème anglaise on the syrup.