Poached Asian Pears

So, I tackled the asian pears this weekend. Even though I had read that they’re sort of pear flavored apples, I was surprised when I got a nice crunch when I bit into one. I actually had a tough time moving past the crunch. I had to keep telling myself that I was not chowing down on an unripe pear. That being said, they were refreshing and crispy and pretty yummy. I’m not convinced yet that I’d select an Asian pear over a regular pear (definitely not over a Harry & David pear) but I’m going to add them to my list of “fruits that are actually in season and not of questionable origin”.

I found this recipe for Asian pears online and it looked yummy so I gave it a shot. As usual, I didn’t have all the ingredients in my pantry, so I ad libbed. The ginger appeared in this week’s basket, which solved that problem, but I was still missing the vanilla bean and the lemon peel. I used vanilla extract and lemon juice instead. I also added cinnamon because, well, fruit for dessert just isn’t complete without cinnamon in my opinion. I didn’t have any whipped cream or whipping cream so just ate the pears. They were tasty (and, yes, still crunchy after 2 hours soaking). I picked up some whipping cream for the leftovers. They’ve been soaking for 24 hours now, so we’ll see how the crunch factor has held up.

The recipe:

1 two-inch piece ginger, sliced

1 TB vanilla extract

1 TB cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 TB lemon juice

2 cups water

1 large Asian pear, cored and cut into quarters

Yield: 2 servings

TKT: 5 minutes

Add all ingredients except pears into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes.

Put pears in a bowl deep enough to be covered with liquid.

Pour sauce from saucepan over pears.

Let soak for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

Top with whipped cream when serving.

Suggested additions, substitutions and variations

-This would be delicious on non-crunchy pears

UPDATE

So, I just tried the pears again after 72 hours marinating.  They were definitely still crunchy but nowhere near as much. They had absorbed more of the flavors of the marinade, which was nice. There must be a mixture absorption limit (I’d guess around 24 hours) so they weren’t mushy and still had some of the pear flavor. I topped with whipped cream this time, which was a nice addition. It definitely made the dish feel more like dessert, which is good or bad depending on whether or not you were trying to pretend you were being super healthy for eating your fruit. So, the upshot is that I liked this marinade a lot but definitely, definitely recommend letting the Asian pears sit for at least 24 hours before eating.

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