Ruby Poached Pears
It's always fun to turn an old brown Bosc Pear into a sweet Ruby Poached Dessert Pear for a special occasion. Bosc pears are usually coming into their own around Thanksgiving, so they make a great simple dessert. The important thing to look for in choosing a Bosc pear is for the outside skin to be smooth and firm. Look around the stem and if the skin is wrinkly, then it's too ripe... better to use in a salad or with a glass of wine and crackers.
Festive Smells Fill the House
Not only is this dessert elegant, but it fills the entire house with a delightfully festive smell. The wine sauce leftovers make a delicious base for a salad dressing too!
No Bosc Pears?
If you can't find Bosc Pears, try firm Anjou pears... FIRM is the KEY!
We live in Julian where we have lots of Barlett pears... but I find them too soft to make this presentation that I'm showing for a fancy party.
6 medium-size very firm Bosc Pears... try to find ones with their stems attached
1 bottle full-bodied red wine... I use Merlot
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
peel from 1 of an orange (no white part)
peel from 1 of a lime (no white part)
6 whole star anise
6 whole cloves
2 whole cinnamon sticks
large stainless or glass bowl big enough for cut pears sit in
heavy bottom stainless pan that will hold peeled pears
stainless steel strainer
wine bottle opener
Peel the pears, and place in a bowl filled with water and the juice of one lime... this is called acidulated water and will keep the pears from turning brown after peeling.
Hint: When I am peeling 12 pears, I fill a large bowl with water and add the juice of one lemon or lime to create acidulated water... Place the peeled pears in this water to keep them from turning brown while I'm making the wine sauce.
The Ruby Wine Bath
In the heavy bottom saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the pears. Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Place the pears into the bath and cook over medium heat for no more than 8 minutes... you can turn the pears by gently twirling them from the stem. Use care not to pierce the ruby surface of the pears or the marks will become the focus during plate presentation.
Remove Pears from Poaching Liquid
Turn the heat off and gently lift each pear out of the poaching liquid using a spoon and holding the stem. Place on a platter large enough to keep the pears from touching each other.
Cool at room temperature then refrigerate them using an airtight plastic container until serving.
Reduce Poaching Liquid
Using a stainless steel strainer, pour the remaining poaching liquid through the strainer to remove all the spices and large skins. Turn the heat to medium low and begin to reduce the liquid to a thick syrup... this will take about 30 minutes. Once it has reduce to half it's original level, turn the heat off and set aside. If you are using this the next day, pour the cooled liquid into a container and refrigerate until serving.
If the pear won't sit up straight on the plate, cut a small section from the bottom to give it a nice perch.
Heat the poaching liquid slightly if the refrigeration has caused it to become too thick. Place a small amount of the poaching liquid on the plate, top with the poached pear and drizzle a good tablespoon over each pear.
This makes a wonderful platter presentation if you have a buffet... Use a beautiful dish filled with Ruby Poached Pears and drizzle each one with the sweet wine syrup. Put the remainder of the liquid into a pitcher for guests to add more... personally, I save the extra for a fabulous salad dressing base.