Delicious and (mostly) healthy spiced poached pears.
This is quite simple to make, you just need to peel the fruit and make
sure you have enough saucepan volume / hob space to accommodate twelve
simmering pears. They are good served with a classy vanilla ice cream,
yoghurt or crème fraiche. In the unlikely event that you have any
poached pears left over they work well with porridge for breakfast.
Serves 10 with conservationist's appetite. (12 pears)
12 reasonably firm medium-sized pears
1500 ml of elderflower cordial diluted to drinking strength
7 cinnamon sticks
7 star anise fruits
150 g caster sugar
Sufficient vanilla ice cream, yogurt or crème fraiche to serve.
Pour diluted elderflower cordial into a large pot with a lid and put on high heat.
Stir in the sugar until dissolved and steaming.
Add the cinnamon and star anise. Close the lid and let the liquid simmer. Avoid significant boiling if possible.
Meanwhile, peel all the pears - just take off the skin, leave the stalk on the top so that each fruit retains its full character, shape and volume - then submerge carefully in the simmering, fragrant liquid.
Close the lid again and cook until the pears are soft. Check every ten minutes or so. They can take anything from 15 to 40 minutes depending on how firm they were when you started. They are perfect when they give almost no resistance when skewered with a knife.
Serve with a little syrup from the pot and some vanilla ice cream,
yogurt or creme fraiche.