These simple, yet elegant poached pear halves are slightly sweet and spicy . They are perfect for any meal, Indian-inspired or not.
Put the cider and honey in a large pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the honey dissolves. Add the spices and bring back to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let the spices steep while you prepare the pears
Peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon or melon baller.
Set the pear halves in the liquid and add enough water (about 2 cups if your pan just fits the pear halves) to barely cover the pear halves with liquid.
Bring the (cider/honey/spice/water) liquid back to a simmer and partially cover the pan with its lid. Simmer the pears for 20-30 minutes, turning them once or twice, until you can pierce the pear halves with a fork. They should be tender to the touch but not mushy. If some halves are done before others, take out the ones that are ready while leaving the others to continue cooking.
Once all the pear halves are cooked, gently take them out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and put them in a large container with a lid. Raise the heat on the liquid to a low boil and continue cooking it for 10-15 minutes.
Once you have reduced the liquid to about 1 cup, pour it (with spices) over the pear halves and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours.
To serve, take the pears and liquid out of the refrigerator with enough time to bring them to room temperature. Gently remove the pears from the liquid and put them in a serving dish or on plates. Strain the spices out of the sauce and either serve the sauce on the side or pour it over the pear halves. Optional - serve Greek-style yogurt slightly sweetened with a touch of honey and a spoonful or two of the sauce.
Bosc pears are the best ones for poaching because they hold their shape well during cooking. To choose firm but ripe ones, look for pears with brown, rather than green-tinged, skin. Check that they are firm by gently squeezing. They should not feel soft.
Breaking the spices should release their aroma. If your spices are not fragrant when you crush them, they may be old. In that case, consider buying fresher ones.
You can make this dish the day ahead and refrigerate it overnight. Take the container out of the refrigerator before sitting down to eat to give the fruit and sauce adequate time to come back to room temperature. While the pears are delicious eaten cool, they are more fragrant at room temperature.