Poached Pears with Caramel Sauce
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
2 cups (440g) sugar
2 cups (500ml) water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 strip lemon rind
2 star anise
4 ripe but firm pears, e.g. buerre bosc
Ice cream or thick cream to serve
1 cup (220g) sugar
¼ cup (60ml) water
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 (80ml) cup cream
- Bring sugar and water gently to the boil in a small saucepan, stirring well to sugar dissolve before it boils. Add vanilla, lemon rind and star anise and simmer uncovered without stirring for 5 minutes, to develop the flavours. You may need to brush down the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization.
- Peel, halve and core pears using a melon baller. Lower into sugar syrup and poach until tender, approx. 10 minutes. Ensuring they are submerged by placing a plate or baking paper on top.
- Meanwhile for caramel sauce: combine sugar, water and lemon in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook until it becomes a deep caramel colour, swirling occasionally but never stirring. (Have a large bowl of cold nearby to plunge saucepan base into if necessary to stoop cooking as caramel can burn very quickly). Remove from heat and carefully stir in cream. If too thick add a little of the pear poaching liquid.
- Serve pears with sauce poured over and thick cream or ice cream.