Okay, maybe I should preface that by saying that normally, I do NOT like pears. Maybe it’s just awful memories of elementary school cafeteria lunches with horrible mushy enchiladas and a side of canned pears. Yuck! They’re grainy, they’re soft…they’re like apples that have just gone amiss. I’ve always wanted to snack on a fresh pear. It just looks so cool to hold a perfect pear and take a big bite out of it. But ew.
My pear horizons have been widened, though. I remember eating a burgundy-poached pear with some sort of fancy cheese on our honeymoon, and I think I liked it. And my friend Lindsay has made poached pears, I think, and I think I liked those, too. So I decided to bring the pears into my home and poach them myself.
How simple! How fantastic! How yummy! This recipe just amazes me, because it doesn’t call for any special wine, not even any sweetener…it just seems to bring out all the goodness in pears that has been hiding from me until now. The texture is perfect: soft enough to eat with a spoon, but not soft enough to remind me of grade school. I served the pears with a couple of tiny scoops of Stonyfield Farm Vanilla Frozen Yogurt (in itself a great find, with it’s not-too-yogurty-taste and 0 grams of fat), which was lovely. But even better, the next day, I drizzled them with chocolate syrup. What fruit is not made better with a bit of chocolate? What food, for that matter?
At any rate, here is the recipe that changed my life. Well, it changed my attitude toward pears, at least.
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 (3-inch) piece lemon rind
- 2 large pears, peeled, halved, and cored
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add pear halves; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or unti tender. Remove pear halves with a slotted spoon; discard liquid. Place pears in a large shallow dish; cover and chill.
Makes 4 servings.
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, April 2000.