Poached pears are a classic dessert and with all the festive flavours available at this time of year, you can really make them seasonal and indulge without feeling too guilty. Pears are fruits after all!

Ingredients:

6 pears
200ml white wine
50g maple syrup
6 star anise
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 oranges
1tsp ground cinnamon

You can make sure this recipe is vegetarian and vegan friendly by using vegan/veggie wine – why not ask one of the region’s wine producers which ones they recommend?  The other ingredients can be easily found in farmshops and delis for a really local twist on this dessert.

Method:

Pour the white wine into a pan and add the maple syrup, cloves, cinnamon and star anise.

Cut fine strips of the orange peel and set aside, then peel, squeeze and juice the orange, adding all into the pan with the wine.

Leave this aside for a moment and peel the pears, cutting a little of the bottom of each one so that they are easier to stand upright.

Stand them in the pan with the wine mixture and add a little water to make sure the pears are covered two thirds of the way up. Put on a high heat and bring to the boil, immediately reduce to a simmer once it starts boiling. Cover the pan and leave to poach for up to 20 minutes.

Not sure if the pears are finished? You can test them by pushing a knife or something sharp like a cake tester into the widest part of the pear, if it slides in easily, they’re done!

Once the pears are done, remove them from the liquid and set aside, turn the heat back up and boil again until it has reduced by half and thickened up, you can add some sugar to help if it isn’t thickening. Strain the liquid into a bowl and keep the peel and star anise ready for serving.

Serve by placing each pear in the centre of a bowl with the liquid ladled over the top, serve with a star anise and some of the orange peel for decoration.

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