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Poached pears in wine, bay and cinnamon recipe

Melissa Hemsley
These fruity pears are the perfect light finish to a meal  -

These poached pears are a popular pudding that you can get ahead on earlier in the day. When you go to whip up some of the ginger and black-pepper yogurt, make extra so you can dollop it on your porridge or granola the next morning.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 55 minutes 

SERVES 

four 

INGREDIENTS 

For the pears

  • 4 firm ripe pears, such as blush, Comice or Williams
  • 500ml white or rosé wine
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • juice of ½ lemon, plus a few wide strips of pared zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 1 large handful of dried cranberries or any other dried fruit, such as raisins or chopped dates
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 handful of pistachios or flaked almonds

For the ginger and black-pepper yogurt

  • 25g fresh ginger
  • 200ml thick coconut yogurt or full-fat natural dairy yogurt

METHOD 

  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stalks intact, and lay them in a medium saucepan with the wine, star anise, bay, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, vanilla, maple syrup and 500ml water (or just enough to cover). Put the lid on, bring to a boil and straight away turn down to a simmer for 25 minutes, or until the pears are just tender. Use a knife to pierce the undersides to check.
  2. Meanwhile, for the yogurt, finely grate the ginger (no need to peel) then gather the pulp in your fingers and squeeze really well so you end up with about two teaspoons of juice (the pulp can be added to hot water to make a lovely ginger tea).
  3. Place the yogurt in a medium bowl and whisk in most of the ginger juice, then taste. Add it all if you like. Sprinkle in just less than a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and whisk again.
  4. Once the pears are tender, remove with a slotted spoon on to a plate then pop the pan back on the heat, adding the dried fruit. Turn the heat up to a very strong simmer and let the sauce reduce for 30-35 minutes, until you only have about 150ml liquid left. Take off the heat and whisk in the butter to thicken. Taste for seasoning – it should be spiced and just sweet enough.
  5. Put a frying pan on a low heat and gently toast the nuts for a minute, until golden. Roughly chop the pistachios.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, place a big dollop of yogurt into four shallow bowls, sprinkle with a little more freshly ground black pepper, top with a pear then drizzle over the liquid and top with the toasted nuts and plump fruit.