Poached Pears are definitely on my favourite Sunday dinner menu. Depending on how ripe the pears are will determine how long the pears will take to poach until tender. Taste the poaching syrup and adjust with sugar or lemon juice for the perfect balance of flavours. Serve with vanilla ice cream or ginger crème anglaise.
Start the poaching liquid for the pears by adding star anise, cinnamon stick, zest and juice of lemon, ginger, Pinot Noir, port, sugar, cassis and the vanilla bean and vanilla scrapings to a saucepan that will fit the 4 pears snugly. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer poaching liquid for 5 to 6 minutes to let flavours marry.
Add pears. Cut a round of parchment paper to cover the pears completely. Pears should be immersed in poaching liquid. Over medium low heat, poach pears for 20 to 25 minutes until tender, turning pears during the cooking process to cook the pears evenly. Cooking time will vary depending on how ripe the pears are.
Remove pears from the poaching liquid. Increase heat to medium. Bring poaching liquid back to a simmer and reduce until thickens to a syrup, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust for sweetness or tang by adding more sugar or a bit of fresh lemon juice. Strain the poaching liquid.
Refrigerate pears and poaching liquid separately. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or ginger crème anglaise.