Friday 7 January 2011

Poached Pears with a Cinnamon, Cardamom and Rosemary Sauce.

I've been eating mince pies and Persian pastries for breakfast every day this week and there's still an untouched chocolate-cake gift in the cupboard. The biscuit tin is full of home-made cookies, there are brownies in another one. I think I slightly over-estimated our Christmas requirements so I don't really need to do any baking.

But it's a dull grey rainy day and I thought it would be nice to make a warm fruity pudding for Friday night supper. Nothing too I made poached pears.

I used red grape juice rather than wine because I sometimes find it makes them taste a little bitter and sweetened them with honey and maple syrup. They were utterly delicious. 

For four people you will need

  • Four desert pears. They need to be ripe but not overly so as they will fall apart when cooked.
  • Enough red grape juice to cover them in a saucepan.
  • Sugar, honey or Maple syrup to sweeten. Some recipes require 300g to a bottle of wine for this amount of pears. I think that would be a little too much for me, especially if I've selected a sweet variety of pears. So it's important to add to your own taste.
  • A small piece of cinnamon.
  • The seeds from one cardamom pod.
  • A little piece of fresh rosemay. Not too much, it can make the syrup taste soapy if you're heavy-handed with it!
  • Arrowroot to thicken
  • Peel the pears leaving the stalks in tact. Take a thin slice off the bottom of each one so that they will stand up when served.
  • Place in a saucepan and cover with red grape juice.
  • Add the sugar or honey, cinnamon, rosemary and cardamom seeds. Bring the juice to the boil and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer. Leave until the pears are tender but still whole. This will vary depending on the size, and ripeness, of the pears. Test by inserting the tip of a pointed knife into the flesh.
  • Remove the pears with a slotted spoon so that any excess sauce drains into the pan, and place on one or more serving dishes. You can decorate by inserting a sprig of rosemary into the top if you like. If you decide to, it's best to remove the stalk when peeling.
  • Continue cooking the sauce so that it reduces.
  • Mix a little arrowroot with cold water or more grape juice. Add this to the cooking sauce to thicken, stirring continuously.
  • Pour the sauce over the pear, and pool onto the plate.
  • Serve with vanilla ice-cream, custard or yoghurt.
I was amazed at how delicious this simple pear desert tasted. From the very first mouthful I was instantly a child convalescing....sitting up in bed, being coaxed to eat tinned pears by my mother hoping to restore a little girl's lost appetite. But I quickly noticed a much deeper grown-up taste as the exotic notes of cinnamon, cardamon and rosemary came through. 

 Because it's grey and rainy I served this with custard rather than ice-cream, which only helped to add to the nursery comfort food feel even more.

...mmm...I think I'll be making this a lot this winter...

...especially on grey, rainy days...


  1. These look beautiful - a very elegant dessert and the perfect solution to a house full of baking! Thanks so much for adding it to Sweet Sweet Friday. Hope you get some sunshine soon x

  2. Thank you Lucy...It has actually been shining today and tomorrow's forecast is good too......

    I'm working on the response to the lovely blog award and will post it soon...thanks again...

  3. Oh my ... YUM, YUM, YUM. I need to eat this like right NOW! ;)
    (you have lovely taste in recipes ... no pun intended).

  4. Thanks Tracey, actually I was amazed at how great this turned out....It's one I'll definitely make again.