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Poached Pears in Wine (Plus a Non-Alcoholic Variation)


The earliest recipe I could find for this gorgeous dish comes to us from the master chefs to King Richard II in a fascinating cookbook compiled in the fourteenth century. It is prepared in almost exactly the same way as the recipe below. Who knew this dish was so ancient?   A non-alcoholic variation for kids follows this recipe.


1. Peel, halve, and core the pears.
2. Bring the wine to a simmer in a wide saucepan and place the pears in the wine. Simmer, covered, until the pears are easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes, turning them over several times. Transfer the pears to a plate or pan with a slotted spoon and cover them to keep them from drying out.
3. Add the sugar and ginger or cinnamon to the wine. Boil, uncovered, until the wine is reduced by about half, about 15 minutes. Lay the pears in the syrup and cook 10 minutes more, turning the pears over once or twice. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
4. To serve, place the pears in bowls and pour the syrup over each serving. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.


For a non-alcoholic version, replace the red wine with white grape juice (not as pretty on your plate but much prettier on your children’s clothes!) and reduce the sugar by half.