Poached Pears with Vanilla and Anise
Serve this classy dessert warm or cool, alone or with vanilla ice cream.
4 ripe but firm white pears (Bosc, Bartlett, Warren, Anjou)
4 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
4-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract or paste
1 tsp whole cloves
5 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
lemon juice as needed
whole star anise and vanilla bean pods for garnish
- Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact and immediately submerge them in a bowl with water and lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Add water, sugar and vanilla to a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar dissolves.
- Break cinnamon sticks and anise pods in half, add all spices (cloves, anise, cinnamon, ginger) to pot and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add pears to pot, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the pears can be pierced with a fork.
- Remove pears from heat and store in refrigerator for no less than 2 hours (the longer the pears remain in the liquid, the stronger the flavor will be).
- Garnish with vanilla bean pods and whole star anise to serve.