It’s December 20th, and I’m writing this from a hotel room in Casablanca. While that might *sound* really awesome, it’s not as awesome when the plan was to be at a B&B in Evora, Portugal. But, travel snafus happen, and thankfully, my husbandy and I have encountered enough snafus to know that getting upset does not help the situation. Ok, no modesty here, but we have to be some of the calmest travellers in spite of the unexpected and unexplained cancellation of airline tickets we encountered today (two tickets paid for, utter refusal to issue boarding passes, and no refund!). So, new plane tickets, new hotel booking, re-arranged B&B arrival, modified car rental, cancelled dinner reservation, new dinner reservation, credit card dispute filing, taxi ride, dinner, and a bottle and a half of of wine later, I’m writing this from the 21st floor of the Kenzi Towers Casablanca. Tomorrow, we try again to get to Lisbon.
So, in the spirit of rolling with it, especially when things don’t go as planned, I thought I’d share a simple poached pear recipe. It’s a light, foolproof dessert recipe that I whip out when I just don’t have time to make an elaborate dessert. Poached pears. It feels sophisticated, and yet it’s so, so, easy. In fact, it’s a perfect substitute for the [insert ambitious and glorious dessert here] you may have been planning on for Christmas dinner, but now it just seems like too.much.work. And, well, it’s also a great dessert if your holiday planning just didn’t quite go as planned…
What is your go-to simple dessert?
- 1 bottle red wine, your choice, but I prefer a merlot or cabernet
- 1 cup (225g) sugar
- 1 orange
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick, halved
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 medium pears
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Zest and juice the orange.
- Add the wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla to a sauce pan large enough to hold all of the liquid and the pears, and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
- In the meantime, peel each of the pears, cut off the bottoms so they will stand up, and core the pears using a paring knife and going in from the bottom of the pear, leaving the stems on.
- Once the wine is simmering, place all of the pears into the poaching liquid, ideally covering as much as the pears as possible.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Turn the pears occasionally to ensure that they are evenly poached. Simmering time will vary depending on the ripeness of the pear, but they should be fork tender when done.
- Spoon out the pears, and continue simmering the liquid until it is reduced by about half.
- While the pears are simmering, make the whipped cream by whisking the cream in a large bowl by hand or with an electric mixer until the cream forms stiff peaks.
- Serve the pears with whipped cream and some of the poaching liquid.
- The poached pears without the whipped cream can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container with the poaching liquid for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.