This recipe can be used with Bosc, Warren, Taylor’s Gold or Seckel, the only thing that will vary is the cooking time. The Bosc, being a firm pear will need to cook longer than the Warren or the Taylor’s Gold and a little longer than the Seckel. Don’t use an overly ripe Warren or Taylor’s Gold pear for poaching as they will fall apart after only a few minutes in hot poaching liquid but don’t use a hard, under ripe one either; the flavor will not be there. When you poach something there is a wonderful exchange of flavors between the poaching liquid and the pear. If the pear is too green it won’t have the perfume to infuse the poaching liquid.
• 4 ripe, but firm pears, peeled, cored and cut into halves or quarters.
• 2 cups sugar
• 4 cups water
• 2 tables spoons lemon juice
• Optional flavors: vanilla bean, fresh ginger, orange peel, black pepper, star anise, clove, cinnamon stick (NOTE: You can add whatever flavors you like, keeping in mind what you want to serve it with and being careful not to overpower the pear flavor.)
- In a 4 quart sauce pan, cook sugar and water together until sugar is dissolved.
- Add lemon juice and whatever spices you desire.
- If adding a vanilla bean, first cut off the stubby end and make a slice down the length of the pod. With your paring knife, scrape out the tiny seeds and add the seeds, and pod into the poaching liquid.
- While you are waiting for the syrup to come to a boil, start peeling and coring your pears.
- Add the pears to the pot and bring the poaching liquid to a low simmer.
- Don’t bring Warrens to a rolling boil, they will disintegrate. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- If you start to see a crack from the edge of the pear, they are done.
- A knife should be able to be inserted without resistance.
- Turn off the heat and with a slotted spoon; gently remove the pears.
- You can eat them warm at this point with cake and ice cream. If you’d like to keep them for later, let them cool in a single layer on the plate and the poaching liquid cool as well. After all has cooled to room temperature, add the pears back in. You can now refrigerate the pears in their liquid and they will keep a week in the refrigerator.
This recipe has been contributed by Chef Becky Courchesne.