Happy Endings

As winter begins to thaw and melt away to give way to spring, it seems like the new focus can leave us without much of an appreciation for winter. So, before we say goodbye to snow and cold and the food we've come to rely on over these cold months, I will leave you with one of my favorite recipes featuring pears, one of winter's most versatile fruits. Enjoy this recipe as it is or add crushed spices, additional zest or other flavorings to make the poaching liquid your own.

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Vanilla Poached Pears

  • 5 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 (1-by-3-inch) strips lemon zest
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, reserving the seeds and pod
  • 4 Bosc or Anjou pears (about 1 pound)

Combine the water, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds and pod in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact. Slice off the bottom 1/8 inch of each pear to create a flat, stable base.

Reduce the heat to keep the poaching liquid at a bare simmer and add the pears, laying them on their sides so that they are almost completely submerged. Cook, turning pears occasionally so that they become saturated on all sides, until they are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 7 minutes.

Allow the pears to cool completely in their poaching liquid. Serve immediately, placed upright on the plate, or transfer the pears and liquid to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes