What I love about this recipe — other than the obvious deliciousness — is that these poached pears are not only divine on their own, but they can become an ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes.
- 1 cup Ruby Port wine
- 1 large, (ripe, but firm), pear (I like Comice or Bosc)
- 3 whole star anise
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- About 2 teaspoons granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Add the port to a small saucepan with the star anise and thyme.
- Peel the pear and cut it in half. Use a melon baller or a teaspoon to core the pear and then cut it into about 8 to 10 (1/8 to ¼-inch) slices per half. Add the pears to the port mixture in the saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and let it sit for at least 3 hours.
- Turn on the broiler and drain the pears, saving the poaching liquid, and returning it to the saucepan. Gently place the poached pear slices on a baking sheet covered with foil. Sprinkle the pears with a thin coating of granulated sugar and place them under the broiler just until they begin to brown or char a tiny bit along the edges, about 2 minutes. (Every broiler is different, so check them every 30 seconds or so!)
- Bring the poaching liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer until it has reduced by about half. This should take about 15 minutes, and the result will be a sweet, thick port wine syrup -- for drizzling on top of the pears.
The longer the pears marinate, the more intense the flavor will become. It's up to you!
At least 3 hours and up to 2 days ahead of time: Poach the pears.
Just before serving (or using in a recipe): Brûlée the pears.