pear necessities…

Here’s another favorite fall dish that is quite simple to make, yet elegant and refined. Sorta like me…

Poached pears is a classic dessert that requires only a few ingredients—poaching liquid, sugar, and your choice of flavoring/spices. And of course, pears.

I first learned about poached pears from watching The Frugal Gourmet. It took me a several years until I finally decided to try it for myself.

After I moved from my parents home, I stayed with my two sisters Geralyne and Melanie. We lived in this spacious condo unit that had a huge kitchen. It is here that I did my very first culinary experiments and have actually been quite successful.

I remember one Thanksgiving when I stuffed a turkey with a chicken stuffed with a Cornish game hen stuffed with quail eggs. My inspiration for this were the medieval kings who had similar roasts of deer stuffed with smaller game. Kind of like one of those Russian nesting dolls, except you can eat them.

My sister Geralyne had been dating a guy who happened to be the son of a local restaurateur. His Italian restaurants were famous and the most popular in San Francisco’s touristy Ghiraldelli Square was my favorite. Somehow she had mentioned her great cooking prowess and soon found herself having Maurizio over for dinner.

I told her not to worry and that I would take care of everything. She could even tell him she did it herself. I timed the meal to finish shortly after he arrived and all she really had to do was to keep stirring and not let anything burn. Surprisingly, the dinner went off so well he fell in love with her.

Unfortunately, she didn’t feel the same way about him. Which is great because she eventually ended up meeting her future husband and father of three great children. And she’s been feeding him on her own ever since.

The pear poached in Marsala was the dessert.

My go-to version includes good red wine (either Merlot or Zinfandel), lemon zest, and vanilla bean. Poaching takes no more than 30 minutes. Served warm with crème fraîche.

Other versions I’ve made before used mulling spices and oranges, as well as using lighter wines such as Chardonnay or Riesling. It all really depends on what you want and your mood.

I reduce the poaching liquid until it gets syrupy and use it on pancakes or drizzled over vanilla ice cream.

Here’s two ways I serve it:

Poached Pears Trio

Poached Pear with Balsamic Vinegar

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