from one generation to the next
I love pears.
Pears with strong cheeses, pears with bitter greens, sweet pears have an amazing ability to marry well with a broad range of flavours.
It’s not only their delicious sweetness or their infinite versatility, it’s also their sensuous curves, their sexy lines that I love. They appeal to my artistic eye. But not all pears are created equal. You can’t go past Doyenne de Comice for eating fresh, but it’s the brown skinned Beurre Bosc variety I especially love to cook. Unlike other local varieties they maintain their sexy curves and firm structure even when slow cooked to a buttery texture. They look a million dollars on a plate, and taste wonderful.
Sweet poached pears match well with almonds, chocolate, vanilla and sweet spices such as cinnamon.
To keep the pears from oxidizing while you make the syrup, fill a large bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice. Add the pears to the bowl as you peel them
Put the remainder of the ingredients into a large pot and as you peel the pears, add the skins to the pot.
Bring the pot to the boil stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, then cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 160C
Strain the syrup, discarding the pear skins. Return the vanilla, cinnamon and citrus zests to the syrup.
Drain the pears and put them into a lidded casserole dish. Pour the hot syrup over the pears. The pears should be totally submerged. Cover the pears with a piece of baking paper that you’ve cut to size, put the lid on the dish then poach the pears in the oven until soft, 60 – 90 minutes.
Remove the pears from the poaching liquid then bring the syrup to the boil and reduce it until thick.
Cool the pears in the syrup.