Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Spice-Poached Apples or Pears. A classy dish.
The recipe is easy to make and the poached fruits will taste heavenly. I chose two different kinds of pears, first the “ Williams Bon Chrétien” – this variety has existed since 1770 (British origins) and second the “Conference” pear, a variety known since 1894 - just starting to appear in the stores for the season. With a bit of planning, it is easy to know how many days ahead you have to buy your fruit so that it will be perfectly ripe but not too soft for poaching.
The preparation of this recipe is straightforward. Place a good-quality honey, sugar, water, zest and juice of organic oranges and lemons, star anise, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean (and scraped seeds) into a pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the pears (or apples) and poach for 10-15 minutes, or until softened, but still firm. (Turn the pears frequently to keep them covered with the poaching liquid). Then you remove the pears and set aside. Bring the poaching liquid back up to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 10 minutes.
To serve, place a pear into the center of a plate/dish and pour some of the poaching liquid around. Poached fruit go brilliantly with a whole host of things and therefore feel free to serve the fruit with a dollop of clotted cream, crème double, crème fraîche or ice cream.
Dorie´s recipe is delicious and both kinds of pears looked elegant on the plate and tasted superb! For the Christmassy smells alone I would give this five stars. The vanilla pods are very pricey but the star of the show in this dessert. They add a beautiful flecked appearance and yumminess. When I shopped for new spices with the right fresh “punch” which you undoubtedly need for this recipe, the manager of the store laughed out loud and told me that “the fresh Christmas spices have not arrived yet” although, at that point I did start to wonder at the logic of all of this because the shelves reaching up all the way to the ceiling in his store are already filled with “Zimtsternen”, “Lebkuchen”, Pfeffernüssen” and other assorted Christmas cookies, go figure. I ended up ordering the fresh spices from a spice merchant.
Last but not least, this dish can be made a day in advance allowing the fruits to soak up more of the spiced poaching liquid, flavor and color.
To see how the other Doristas prepared the poached fruits, please click here.