Last week my CSA produce delivery included an abundance of perfectly ripe pears. After using them as a pineapple substitute in an upside down cake, making jam and eating a good chunk of them right out of the box, I was still left with a good amount ready to spoil if I didn’t make use of them. Poaching is an extremely easy way to preserve fruit. The gentle cooking method preserves the shape and the poaching liquid improves the flavor of even a mediocre batch of produce. I happen to especially like poached pears and often serve them for dessert with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream as a deliciously light way to end a meal. My boys like to eat them up for breakfast with yogurt and my daughter loves them on her cereal. Poached fruit also makes a great canned gift for holidays and lasts for a good while in the fridge. Now you’re wondering why you’ve never tried it, right?
I pulled out my handy dandy Aroma Rice Cooker and got to poaching a batch of pears in water, sugar and vanilla for the kids. I then made use of some leftover Port wine from my Thanksgiving cranberry sauce (yes I’m still waiting to pull out my freezer reserves) and created an adult version of the poached pears. The port gives this dish a beautiful color and aroma that makes it as pretty as it is delicious. I sealed up leftovers in mason jars and passed them out to neighbors as a last minute and extremely tasty holiday gift.
3 Bosc or other firm variety pears, peeled, cored and halved
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
1 cup Port wine*
Add the sugar, wine and water to the inner pot of your Aroma Rice Cooker. (Tip: For extra flavor you can add a cinnamon stick, a split vanilla bean or star anise to the cooking liquid.)
Leaving the lid open, press the Steam button and set it for 30 minutes. Let the mixture come to a boil to dissolve sugar, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
Tip: If you decide to jar the fruit, pour some of the the cooking liquid in the jar with the fruit before sealing. Jarred fruit will keep for about a week in the fridge.
*For the non-alcoholic version substitute 1 additional cup of water for the wine.