We opened a bottle of champagne for New Year’s and didn’t finish it! Lucky for us, we had just enough left over to make a half batch of these blushing poached pears. They are a festive addition to any brunch, serve chilled or warm with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. If you are craving something a bit more savory, then slice the pears into wedges and toss with arugula, olive oil, Champagne vinegar, goat cheese and toasted nuts. Of course they always make an elegant dessert, garnish with a quenelle of vanilla ice-cream and voilà!
Photo by Victoria Greenstreet
• 1 750 ml bottle rosé champagne or sparkling wine
• 2 1/4 cups water
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, split
• 6 whole peppercorns
• 4 firm pears, peeled with stems intact
1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat warm the champagne, water, sugar, vanilla bean and peppercorns until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
2. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the pears and make sure that they are fully submerged in the liquid, put a small plate over the top to weigh down if necessary. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until soft and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat and let the pears cool in the poaching liquid for about 20 minutes.
4. Remove the pears from the liquid and bring the liquid to a boil, reduce until about 1/2 of a cup of liquid remains. Drizzle the sauce over each pear and serve with plain Greek yogurt for brunch or vanilla ice-cream for dessert. Serves 4
Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Rewarm or serve chilled.
*Tip: If you want your pears to stand tall then slice the bottoms off and serve upright.
Victoria Greenstreet is inspired by seasonal ingredients. Her focus is whole foods and gluten-free cookery. She is a classically trained chef, freelance food writer, stylist and photographer. She is currently working on her first cookbook due in the winter of 2014. Visit her blog Honey Dumplings for more recipes and culinary adventures.