Jasmine poached pears
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cooking time||30 minutes|
|Total time||40 minutes|
When it comes to pears it’s nigh-on impossible to buy them in their perfect state of ripeness and then, so often, I forget to keep an eye on the fruit bowl and discover that they’re soft and past their best. Poaching is a great way to deal with a slightly under-ripe pear and you can vary the spices to personal taste (or to what you can find in the cupboard).
Make a pot of weak tea—jasmine or green tea would be perfect. Pour the tea into a small saucepan along with about 4 star anise, a cinnamon stick, 1 clove (or the syrup takes on a medicinal character), 6 slices of fresh ginger and around 200g of sugar. Bring the pan up to the boil.
Now peel the pears, (I tend to cook at least half a dozen, as any leftovers will keep for a day or 2 in the fridge), keeping the stems on and carefully removing the core from the bottom of the fruit using a paring knife or corer. Turn the spiced tea down to a simmer and place your pears, standing together as snugly as possible in the saucepan, adding a little more water if necessary. Simmer the pears for about 20 to 30 mins, until a knife slips easily into the flesh and then leave to cool in the syrup.
The pears can be kept in the spiced tea in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. When serving the pears, the syrup is particularly good if you boil it down until well reduced and glossy. I’m happy to tuck into the pears as they are but you could add a scoop of ice cream or sorbet.