Poaching is a technique used to gently cook what is usually already a tender ingredient. Chicken and fish are commonly poached in a flavorful broth called court bouillon, which is made by simmering aromatic vegetables and herbs in water. When used to cook fruit, it’s common to simmer in red wine, another sort of alcohol or a flavored simple syrup. A simple and elegant method for fantastic results.
Vanilla and Orange Poached Pears
2 cups apple juice
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 peels of orange
1 vanilla bean, split
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 inch slice of ginger
1/3 cup crème fraiche (for garnish)
Peel the pears, leaving the stem on. Place the pears in a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients except crème fraiche and cover with parchment paper. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or until the pears are tender when tested with a sharp paring knife. Transfer the pears to a plate and remove the solid pieces from the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon, about 30 minutes. Cool the pears in syrup with the parchment paper covering. To serve, slice a sliver of pear off the bottom to get the pear to stand upright. Serve either on a platter or individual plates with the syrup drizzled over the pears. Spoon a dollop of crème fraiche next to each pear.