Poached Pears first timer

Im making poached pears for the first time for a small dinner party tonight, this recipe:
It seems so straight forward but I was wondering if anyone had any tips or suggestions based on experience with this classic dish? I'll only have one shot to get it right lol

Jennifer W


judy October 25, 2018
I love poached pears. Pick pears that are just beginning to become soft when squeezed gently. If too ripe they will disintegrate; if too green, they will not cook through and not taste nice. I mix 1/c Cup wine (white or red, really your preference, but I like a sweeter one), about 2 cups water and about 1/4-1/3 cup sugar. Add spice that complements your meal but generally lemon or vanilla are very nice with a bit of nutmeg or anise. I never peel them, simply clean them. Cut off a small slice off the bottom so that they can stand up straight.
arrange in a dutch oven. Pour liquids over. Cook for about 20 min to 1/2 hour on heavy simmer--DO NOT BOIL. Length of time depends
on how ripe the pears are. Can be eaten warm or cold. This is a dish that works great if you do it the morning of. I like to serve them with a little lightly sweetened cream and a sweet potato buttermilk biscuit. Biscuit sliced and arranged around pear, sauce down and cream on top. A few grates of lemon peel or a mint leaf are a nice final touch. Never chocolate sauce! Really nice presentation for a relatively easy dessert. Don't let others scare you off. Enjoy your dinner. (Serious eats has an amazing sweet potato buttermilk (or any milk) biscuit.). Also try poached rhubarb.
Jennifer W. October 25, 2018
Thanks guys! I admit Im a chronic offender when it comes to this so called "rule" of new recipes and guests. But my friends know how much I enjoy cooking and are usually aware that they are my test subjects:) Fortunately I think Ive only had maybe one or two actual disasters using this method! Anyway, the pears are poached, look lovely bathing in their reduced poaching liquid (I agree about the wine thing and made sure I didnt use something disgusting) and Ive preassembled my chocolate sauce so I can pour it fresh in a nice dramatic fashion:) I ended up gently simmering covered for about 15 minutes, then turning the heat off for another 10 or so. Ill also be whipping some cream with a little bit of the liquid added to put on the side.
HalfPint October 25, 2018
I learned how to poach pears by watching my friend, Mary. She didn't have a recipe per see. What she did teach me was to use a white wine that I liked to drink (which was a semi dry and not oaky wine) and to sweeten, with sugar, to my preference. Then gently poach peeled & cored pear halves in barely simmering wine/sugar mixture w/ a vanilla bean, until tender, about 15-20 minutes. There's no pressure and no definitive timeline to follow. Really, you can probably make it the night before, and warm up right before serving. Mary served her poached pears almost like a soup course and it was the most elegant dessert I had ever had. I think the only place where things can go wrong is the wine. If you don't like the wine, there's nothing to hide that flavor.
Nancy October 25, 2018
First off, there's no pressure.
Two Rules
1) never make a dish (whether main or other) first time for guests.
2) but if you do (and I have broken Rule #1), keep a safe back up on hand. For me, it's always eggs for a main and vanilla ice cream for dessert.
That said, this is an easy dish.
If you want to make an even easier version, don't fuss with the chocolate sauce and presentation of the Poire Belle Helene.
Instead, simply poach the pears in red wine, a little bit of sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon or orange zest. Serve warm, chilled or room temp (whichever your preference or schedule allows).
Serve with some nice almond cookies
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