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Sweet Poached Pear with Cinnamon Syrup

June 28, 2011

What’s with all the poached pears, it’s not even pear season?

It’s not, but I just made it through midterm season.  Part of my cook technique test was to poach a pear and reduce the liquid to a syrup.  The syrup is the tricky part.  It takes a while to boil it down, but once it begins to thicken, it’s easy to pull from the heat too soon or over-cook it.

The sauce needs that happy medium.  It needs to be removed from the heat just before it reaches the right consistency for serving, which, after cooling for about thirty seconds, should be something between agave nectar and maple syrup.   There is really no way to explain the correct procedure.  It just takes time, practice and a good eye.

Sweet Poached Pear with Cinnamon Syrup
Makes 4 Pears

4 firm Bartlett or Bosc pears
3 cups white wine, such as Riesling or Chablis
6 cups unsweetened apple cider
2-3 sticks cinnamon
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1: Carefully peel and halve pears, keeping stems intact.  Use a mellon baller or small spoon to remove seeds.
2: In a medium saucepan or large sauté pan, mix together wine, cider, cinnamon and vanilla.  Place pears in the liquid, so that all of the halves appear to be floating.  Liquid does not need to submerge pears, but they should be nearly covered.  Partially cover pan with a clear lid or entirely with a cartouche, cut to size. (Directions)
3: Heat on medium, until liquid begins to simmer.  Adjust heat if needed to keep pears on a gentle simmer for 20-30 minutes, until tender.
4: Remove pears with a slotted spoon.  Either refrigerate or set aside at room temperature until sauce is reduced.
5: Increase heat and bring sauce to boil. Reduce liquid to a nectar-like consistency. Remove from heat, then take out cinnamon sticks.  (Optional: Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove small cinnamon and pulp particles)
Spoon out reduction onto a shallow bowl. Place two halves of a pear over syrup.  Drizzle additional syrup over pears if desired.

Note: When plating, place the inside of the pear downward. The opposite of my photo (above) is not only more attractive for serving, but easier to cut and eat.  Pears may also be poached whole.  Simply skin, then core from the bottom. Extend cooking time until they are tender. 

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