Poaching pears is easy, but requires a little bit of attention. I occasionally baste the pears when cooking, because coating them evenly ensures a beautiful color throughout.
When selecting the pears, I recommend choosing firm Bosc pears. Boscs have a rich, round pear flavor. A firm pear is also important. Soft pears will break down in cooking and are harder to peel.
1 8oz jar red wine jelly
1 cup water or red wine
1 pound pears (approx. 2 large), peeled and sliced into halves or quarters
Begin by cutting a round of parchment that will fit into your saucepan and cover the pears and liquid. It does not need to be perfect but it does need a hole in the center (about the size of a quarter). This parchment, when placed on top of the simmering pears, will keep the sauce from boiling over the pan and help keep the fruit submerged. The small hole allows moisture to evaporate and encourages the liquid reduce to a luscious sauce.
On medium heat, melt jelly and water or wine together in your saucepan. The pan should be small enough to keep the pears submerged in liquid. Add pears and turn the heat to low. Cover with parchment. Simmer 1 hour. While the pears are simmering, check on them occasionally to make sure the liquid covers the fruit. Gently roll and baste the pears.
After an hour, the pears should be tender enough to pierce with a knife and the sauce should be thick enough to coat the fruit. Gently scoop the pears to a serving dish and pour wine sauce over top. Serves 4.
Serve these tasty jewels with whipped cream, mascarpone or ricotta, or good vanilla ice cream.
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