I feel like pears are apples' forgotten and neglected cousin--they don't seem to get the attention they deserve because everyone is so focused on apple picking to make pies, cobblers, and ciders. Apples and pears harvest at about the same time each year, so when apples are abundant, there is a good chance there are some pears nearby. I have been noticing bushel bags full of apples at the market, and off to the side, there will be a few bags of pears. I decided to grab a bag of the pears because they will store extremely well if I don't use them up right away. By wrapping each pear in newspaper and storing it in a dry, dark place, the shelf life is extended to a few weeks.
Recently, I have been eating warmer meals to keep me toasty on these raw and rainy days. The addition of warm fruit to any meal seems to make my body feel instantly satisfied during the colder months. I chose to poach a whole pear with traditional fall spices and served it alongside a pecan salad. Once poached, the pear can be served however you like--on top of pancakes, stirred into yogurt, blended into a smoothie, or eaten with cake and ice cream as a dessert!
1. In a small pot, bring the water and sugar to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
2. While the water is simmering, peel and core your pear. You can use any variety of pear. To do this, cut the bottom flat off of the pear and use a small knife to cut a circle along the core. You could also use an apple corer.
3. Add the spices, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce to a simmer and add your pear. I poked some extra cloves into the cored out part of the pear, but this is optional. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pear is soft. Remove from the pot.
5. Optional but recommended: Let the liquid in the pot simmer and reduce for another 10 minutes. It will turn into a thick syrup that you can choose to pour over the pear. This is best when served as a dessert.
For the salad, I tossed some pecans and red onion in a handful of arugula and topped it with a maple balsamic dressing.