Nothing says fall to me as much as the scent of spices and warm cider. When I saw beautiful red pears at the market this week, I knew that poached pears were in my future. This dish is easy to prepare. It takes a while for the poaching liquid to reduce down (after the pears are done cooking), but as heavenly scents fill your kitchen, I’ll bet you won’t mind at all.
I discovered poached fruit during my early forays into Julia Child’s cookbooks. Clearly she preferred to poach in wine, but Julia did allow for the possibility of a non-alcoholic, sugar syrup in her book, 1970s classic, From Julia Child’s Kitchen. This recipe is inspired by her general directions and uses her proportions for sugar syrup (6 tablespoons per cup), but it is more likely to strike you as an American dessert than a French one.
Poached Pears in Cider Syrup
Servings – 4 (half pear each) Cost – $5 total/$1.25 per serving
- 2 firm pears
- 2 cups of apple cider
- 1 cup water (+ extra for soaking the pears before cooking)
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, very lightly packed
- Rind of 1 lemon + juice from half of the lemon
- Rind of 1 orange
- 4 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Cutting board
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups (liquid and solid)
- Small, heavy pot
- Fork, knife, or bamboo skewer
- Large spoon
- After cleaning the orange and lemon, peel the rind off with a light touch, taking as little of the white pith as possible. (If you find that a considerable amount of pith has come off with the rind, remove it with a sharp knife, as in the instructions for limoncello.) Cut the lemon in half. Reserve half of the lemon and the orange for other uses.
Reserve any extra syrup for use as a sauce with other fruits, over ice cream, or to mix into yogurt.