What's up with this tip for poaching pears?

MY TURN! I am making pear custard pie (http://ww2.kqed.org/bayareabites/2012/02/07/cookbook-review-home-baked-comfort-by-kim-laidlaw/) and have run into the following tip:

To poach the pears, cut a circle of parchment paper that will fit in a medium saucepan. Cut a small circle in the middle of the parchment. In the saucepan, bring 3 cups (24 fl oz/750 ml) water and the sugar to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pears and orange peel. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of a paring knife; add the pod and seeds to the saucepan. Lay the parchment in the saucepan to submerge the pears.

What's up with this? How does the parchment really keep the pears submerged?

Sarah Jampel


AntoniaJames November 25, 2015
It also creates a barrier for trapping steam, the intense heat of which will cook the pears nicely. With all that heat in and around the pears, do you really even need them to be fully submerged? ;o)
Susan W. November 25, 2015
In my head, it just creates a layer that doesn't allow the pears to Bob up. Keep in mind..that's just in my head. I feel like it will work though.
Sarah J. November 25, 2015
I'm just wondering if the parchment paper just kind of floats on top? I'm having a hard time conceiving of how it will adequately weigh down the bobbing pears... Hmm...

David Lebovtiz, good old Dave!, recommends the same tip: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/11/how-to-make-poached-pears/
Susan W. November 25, 2015
Yup..David knows. Solid proof! :)
Leslie S. November 25, 2015
Jonah says that it might soak up liquid and form a seal on the top of the liquid. (?)
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