No partridges were harmed in this production

After visiting the parental unit this weekend we returned with mountain of sweet, small golden pears from the garden trees. Not one would have passed EU regulations on size and shape but thankfully with fruit taste is far more important than beauty!

So, what to do with a glut of pears? My favourite autumn pudding: Poached Pears.

6 Pears – halved, peeled and cored. (We used 12 quite small pears which had near non existent pips and cores.)

400ml White Wine/Cava/Champagne
400ml Red Wine
400ml Water
Lemon Juice
1/2 a Cinnamon Stick
6-8 Juniper Berries
150g Demerara Sugar
1 tbsp Honey
1 Vanilla Pod, halved

Whilst peeling the pears sprinkle each pear with a little lemon juice to stop them turning brown.

Place the peeled pears in a large pan and add the rest of the ingredients. The liquid should cover the pears completely. If not add equal amounts of the wines and water until they are covered. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, overnight if you can.

Take the pears out of the juice and the set aside. In the pan bring the syrup to the boil and reduce to roughly half. Fish out the juniper berries and cinnamon stick so that there are no little surprises when eating. The pears and syrup will keep together in a tub in the fridge for a few days or you can freeze them in portions to defrost and eat another day.

There are a many ways to serve poached pears, for a really easy option, serve cooled pears and syrup with good vanilla ice cream. They go remarkably well with goats cheese for a more savoury dessert option or you can do as we did in the picture above:

Place two small pears, or pear halves if you used bigger pears, into an oven proof bowl. Spoon over some syrup and a good dollop of crème fraiche. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and chopped hazelnuts. Place in the oven at gas 5/190’C for 15-20 minutes to warm before serving.

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