Pears Poached in Riesling and Vanilla


These are two of my favourite shots from my recent photography assignment, Poached Pears in Riesling and Vanilla - the poaching liquid is reduced after the pears are cooked, leaving you with a lovely aromatic syrup to pour over your pears, which can be served warm, room temperature or cold with softly whipped vanilla cream or ice cream. As well as looking pretty beautiful, they are an absolute cinch to make!

500ml Riesling or Sauternes
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
peel from one lemon 
8 Berre Bosc or William pears

300ml softly whipped cream
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tbsp icing sugar

Put all ingredients except the pears in a big wide pot and bring to a boil stirring for a few minutes to dissolve sugar, then reduce to a simmer. In the meantime carefully peel your pears then put all together into the simmering liquid, if they are not fully covered add equal quantities of water and wine to cover them. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes if you have ripe pears, 20 minutes for almost ripe pears and 35 minutes for rock hard. Test for doneness by piercing one (make it yours for later) pear to ensure the point of a knife pierces easily into just soft but not mushy pear flesh. Once the pears are cooked, remove carefully with a slotted spoon and put in a container, standing upright. Next boil the poaching liquid for 30-40 minutes until it is reduced to an aromatic syrup. the good thing about this dessert is that it is equally nice in winter or summer as you can serve the pears warm, room temperature or cold with whipped vanilla cream (add 1 tsp vanilla paste and 1 tbsp icing sugar to 300ml softly whipped cream) and/or vanilla bean ice -cream. serves 8.

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