“This is one of my favorite applications for pears throughout the winter. I often serve it with buttermilk panna cotta or with a slice of walnut-honey tart.” —Michelle Lee
- 3 pounds firm pears (bosc and bartlett work really well)
- 2 tablespoons peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon whole clove
- Seeds from 1 green cardamom pod
- 3 oranges, zested and juiced
- 1 bottle light-bodied red wine
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 5 cups water
- 2½ cups sugar
In a small skillet, gently warm the peppercorns and cloves over low heat. When aromatic, place with cardamom seeds in a mortar and pound with a pestle until the spices break into course pieces.
Place the cracked spices into a large pot and add the strips of zest from the 3 oranges along with 1 cup of the orange juice, plus the red wine, honey, lemon juice, water, and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
Peel and core the pears, and slice each one in half. When the poaching liquid reaches a simmer, gently drop the pear halves into the pot. Fold a piece of parchment paper so it is the size of the rim of the pot, then lay it down directly onto the syrup so that the pears are not floating half-in/half-out of the liquid. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. The pears are thoroughly poached when they are tender and do not oxidize when sliced.
Serve with a scoop of ice cream and toasted walnuts.