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Pears Poached in White Wine

A vegetable peeler or paring knife is handy for removing long strips of citrus zest. Be careful to remove only the thin, colored layer of the peel, leaving the bitter white pith behind. If some of the pith is attached, you can easily scrape it away with a knife. You can then cut the strips lengthwise to the desired width.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet white wine, such as Riesling or Muscat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 slices fresh ginger
  • 2 wide strips lemon zest
  • 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 4 pears, peeled, halved and cored

Directions:

Poach the pears
In a wide, nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the wine, water, sugar, ginger, lemon zest and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer, stirring often to dissolve the sugar, about 3 minutes. Add the pears, cover partially, reduce the heat to simmer and cook at a gentle simmer until the pears are just tender when pierced with the tip of a small knife, 10 to 15 minutes. The timing will depend upon the ripeness of the pears.

Serve the pears
To serve warm, using a slotted spoon, transfer 2 pear halves to each plate. Discard the cinnamon stick and lemon peel from the syrup. Spoon some of the syrup over the pears and serve.

Alternatively, to serve chilled, transfer the pears, syrup, cinnamon stick and lemon zest to a nonreactive container. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 5 hours. Serve as instructed above. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Desserts, by Elinor Klivans (Oxmoor House, 2007).