Poached Pears are made by simmering pears in a light syrup infused with cinnamon, vanilla, star anise, and Amaretto liqueur. They're delicious as is, or as part of many other desserts.
Make the poaching liquid: In a large pot combine 3 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 cup liqueur of choice, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 1 star anise (optional) and 1 cinnamon quill (optional). Bring mixture to a boil.
Prepare pears: While the mixture is coming to a boil, peel the pears leaving the stems on. If using for a tart, you can split the pear in two, then remove the core.
Poach the pears: cut a parchment paper slightly smaller than the inside of the pot in which the pears will be poached. Now cut a small hole in the middle of the cutout.
Add the pears to the poaching liquid and cover with a round cutout pressing it slightly to touch the liquid and pears. This will help to keep the pears submerged in the liquid, which will prevent them from browning.
Simmer until the pears are soft and easily pierced with a knife, ~10-30 minutes or until they're transluscent and easily pierced with a knife.
The pears should be cooked, but not overcooked. Overcooking will cause them to become too soft and fall apart, while not cooking them enough will not allow the flavor to permeate the pears.
Leave the pears in the poaching liquid for a couple of hours until ready to serve, or better yet overnight. This will allow the pears to be completely infused with the flavored syrup.
Tip: this recipe contains no alcohol as it evaporates during cooking.
Serving suggestion - the pears can be served warm or cold. To serve warm, warm up the pears with the poaching syrup until desired temperature.
When ready to serve, transfer the pears to a rimmed serving dish, pour a little bit of poaching liquid over the pears, and sprinkle with chocolate curls.
The pears can be served with ice cream, alongside a cake, with oatmeal, granola & yogurt, or drizzled with caramel or chocolate ganache.
Microwave a chocolate bar for about 15 seconds, in 2-3 second intervals. You want the chocolate bar to become a little warmer than room temperature. This will make it easier for the chocolate curls to form without crumbling into shards. Now use a paper towel to get a better grip on the bar, next using a vegetable peeler run it along the rib of the bar producing beautiful chocolate curls.
To store - cool to room temperature, then transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Do not discard the poaching liquid. Pour it over ice and drink it as a refreshing drink, diluting it with water until desired sweetness.
Or, simmer the syrup until reduced by half and use it to drizzle the pears when serving.
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