Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Port Wine Poached Pears

Pears have been poached for some time.  Archaeologists have found ancient mummies with perfectly poached pears just so they can take them into the afterlife.  It is even said that the ferry man (Charon) on the River Styx can be bribed with a Port Wine Poached Seckel Pear (what is he supposed to do with 2 coins in the afterlife?).

Fortunately poaching is not especially difficult and pears are almost made for poaching.  This recipe makes less than ripe pears edible.  This particular recipe features Ruby Port, in this case an inexpensive one.  The flavors of pear, cinnamon, port, honey and vanilla all come through in the final product.  There is a slight sweetness and strangely a certain amount savoriness from the Port.  This has not been prepared to be a particularly rounded flavor as it will be combined with a few more things.  The rich color comes from allowing the pears to soak in the poaching liquid over night.

Ruby Port, Sugar, Seckel Pears, Honey, Cinnamon, Vanilla and a Straight Sided Sauce Pan

Peeled and Cored Poached Pears with a Melon Baller and Peeler

A shot of the deeply Melon Balled Pears ready to hit the Hot Tub

The Ingredients combined in the Sauce pan.  Notice that the pears are nearly immersed.

A small plate covers the Pears to insure that they stay immersed in the poaching liquid.

The pears, now tender, are separated from the poaching liquid to cool more quickly.

The Pear after soaking in the Poaching Liquid over night with Poached Pear Ice Cream and Pear Creme Brulee

General notes:

Total Time: 24 hours, actual hands on prep time: 20 - 30 minutes
Servings: 6

6 Seckel Pears (or whichever you like)
750 ml Ruby Port Wine
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
1 Tsp Vanilla

Written Instructions:
  • Combine ingredients except Pears in a medium straight sided sauce pan
  • Peel Pears, leaving stem attached for presentation purposes
  • Using a melon baller remove core of Pear from the bottom of the pear, taking care not to break pear
  • Carefully add Pears to the sauce pan with the other ingredients, try not to splash as it might stain your clothes)
  • Bring Pears and Liquid up to a boil and quickly drop to a gentle simmer.  In other words small bubbles that will not move the Pears around very much
  • When the Pears have become tender, test this by inserting a thin knife into one of the pears, if it goes in easily, the Pear is tender
  • Remove the sauce pan form the heat and put somewhere that you can easily remove the Pears from the liquid
  • Remove the Pears and place in a separate container that will fit the Pears, the Liquid and fit in your refrigerator
  • Let the Pears and Liquid cool for a few minutes, recombine and put into your refrigerator
  • Ensure the Pears are immersed in the poaching liquid, by weighting them slightly if need be
  • Forget about them until the next day
  • Take them out, drain and make it happen in your tum tum, or add them to your favorite dish, or stuff with cheese


  1. Yum yum yum. A boozy and delicious treat! You really did your research too!

  2. Is that true about Poached pears and mummies? And do you just put any old plate on top of the pears to make sure they are submerged?

  3. The Poached Mummy Pears are as real as the Moon Landing. You can use any plate that fits into the pot, and that is not affected by heat. You can also use parchment paper or wax paper to hold them down as well.