Basil Varieties: Poached Pears in Basil Syrup

uncommon basil 2

Photo by Howard Lee Puckett

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Serves 4

• 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
• 6 cups water
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 1⁄4 cup firmly packed ‘Dark Opal’ basil
• 4 firm pears, peeled and cored with stems intact
• ‘Dark Opal’ basil leaves, turbinado sugar, sanding sugar for garnish

1. Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Stir in basil.

2. Cut a thin slice from bottom of each pear, allowing pears to stand. Add pears to syrup mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until pears are tender. Remove pears to a plate for serving. Pour syrup through a wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl, discarding basil leaves. Return syrup to saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat and boil gently for 20 minutes, or until syrup thickens. Pour sauce over pears.

Note: You could also use ‘Cinnamon’ basil for this recipe.

Caleb Melchior studies landscape architecture. When not working in the studio, he writes about food and gardens. 

Click here for the main article,  Basil Varieties: A Cook's Guide to Uncommon Basils .