Poached pears are really easy to make yet unimaginably delicious to eat – and I speak as one not overly fond of pears in the raw. In this case I used fairly ripe conference pears, but I’m told William and, presumably, other varieties work just as well.
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 bottle red wine
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick, halved
- Few cloves
- 6 pears, peeled, but kept whole with stalk intact
- Top quality vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the black seeds and put in a large saucepan with the wine, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Cut each piece of pod into three long thin strips, add to pan, then lower in the pears.
- Poach the pears, covered, for 20-30 mins, making sure they are covered in the wine. The cooking time will very much depend on the ripeness of your pears – they should be tender all the way through when pierced with a cocktail stick. You can make these up to 2 days ahead and chill.
- Take the pears from the pan, then boil the liquid to reduce it by half so that it’s thick and syrupy.
- Serve each pear with the cooled syrup, a strip of vanilla, a piece of cinnamon and a few cloves. Add a dollop of ice cream to each bowl.