October 2003, pg. 32
My husband and I recently moved to the Rochester, NY area. One of the first things we noticed that gave western New York brownie points were all of the apple and pear trees along the roadways and trails. I love apples and my husband, P, loves pears! Needless to say when my friend, B, asked me to help her with the dessert/baking recipes from the October 2003 issue of Everyday Food, I was inspired to begin with poaching pears.
I did not poach the locally scavenged pears I bring home from the side of the road. I left those pears to eat when they are perfectly ripe and will savor the taste of a western New York pear. For my first pear poaching experience, I stuck to the recipe and used Bosc pears.
I decided it would be a great late night snack for P, since he was on-call all day and into the night. I peeled the pears and mixed the ingredients for the sauce right before we ate dinner. It was perfect timing to open a bottle of delicious wine (and I do love my wine). I let the pears simmer on the stove while we ate dinner and drank the rest of the opened bottle of wine.
Side note regarding the wine: I used a Bordeaux, the 2006 Mauvais Garcon (Bad Boy). My husband bought a bottle this past spring for a special occasion, and we both loved it. We found our go-to wine store shortly after moving to New York and discovered this wine favorite was on clearance. So we stocked up…and I don’t feel guilty cooking with a now much cheaper bottle of wine!
The chilled poached pears were a welcomed midnight snack for P and I. They tasted like a delicious pear pie (without the crust of course)! The pears were so tender and the red wine sauce was delicious! I was a little nervous about the ripeness of the pears I chose at the store. Thankfully, the red wine based sauce masked any lack of ripeness. The sauce had just enough sugar and I could taste a hint of lemon. Quite a few of the peppercorns were embedded into the pears. If I were to serve these pears to company I may make sure none of the peppercorns are stuck between the bottom of the pot and a pear. Purely aesthetics.
Next time I will have to focus on the thickness of the sauce. I simmered the pears for over 30 minutes (twice the amount of time the recipe called for) and never saw the outer portion of the pear crisp. I may have to watch my simmer a little more carefully next time, simmer longer, and/or take the wax paper circle off at some point to let some of the water evaporate and let the sauce thicken.
All-in-all the poached pear recipe was fantastic and I will be using it in the future! Next baked good in the line-up…..shortbread.