Adapted from BON APPÉTIT
2 Bosc pears
2 Purple Cactus Pears
juice of two large lemons
½ cup red wine, white wine or white grape juice: See Recipe Notes
½ stick unsalted butter
2 sticks cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons honey (optional)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese*
2 teaspoons brandy or dark rum (optional)
½ cup dried fruits (cranberry, cherry, blueberry)
Peel pears, cut into halves or quarters and place in a big bowl; squeeze lemon juice into bowl and coat pears (this keeps them from turning brown)
In a saucepan on medium heat, add butter, wine, cloves, water, cinnamon and sugar; cook until sugar is dissolved
Add pear sections and turn heat to low
Simmer, covered 25-30 minutes, or until pears are tender
Remove pears with slotted spoon and set aside
Bring remaining wine/water mixture to rolling boil; add dried fruit and cook until fruit plumps up
Place pears in shallow bowl; remove cinnamon sticks
Drizzle poaching liquid over pears
Garnish with a spoonful of marscapone cheese and lemon zest
A little prep work is necessary to poach pears, but after that, it's super easy!
Choose perfectly ripe pears for this recipe; if they're overripe, they will be too soggy, and if they're underripe, they won't poach well. Bosc pears, which hold their shape well when baked or poached, have a sweet, tart flavor, but you can also use Anjou or Bartlett pears.
Use a sharp paring knife and gently remove the skin; create a flat base for the pear to stand
Immediately sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the pears. The acidity of the lemon prevents the fruit from browning (through oxidation) and helps retain a bright color.
The temperature of the poaching liquid should be around 140º-180ºF (below 212ºF, which is boiling)
Simmer the fruit for 15-25 minutes; occasionally drizzle the spice infused liquid over the top of the pears
Place pears in individual serving bowls; drizzle poaching liquid over pears and garnish with dried fruit and a scoop of marscapone.
Optional prep work with Marscapone, Rum and Sugar, and Vanilla Bean
Toss pears with lemon juice in large bowl. Set aside. Combine 1 cup water, wine and honey in medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until honey dissolves. Add pears. Cover mixture with round piece of parchment paper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pears are just tender when pierced, turning when half-way through cooking, about 15 minutes.
Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to large bowl. Boil poaching liquid until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Cool syrup. Pour syrup over pears. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove vanilla bean.
Whisk mascarpone cheese, sugar and brandy in large bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup chilled poaching syrup and whisk until soft peaks form.
Thinly slice each pear half lengthwise, leaving slices attached at stem end. Using metal spatula, transfer pears to plates. Gently press on pears to fan slightly. Spoon some syrup over pears. Spoon mascarpone cream alongside each pear half and serve.
The liquids used in the poaching process vary. Some recipes use red or white wine, while others use apple cider or apple juice. White grape juice is another poaching liquid that works well for spiced poached pears.