So you like wine and cheese? These beautiful spicy poached pears are magnificent as part of a cheese platter, try them on a cracker with some stilton or a creamy camembert. For a sweet sensation, serve warm as a dessert with double cream or a rum and raisin ice-cream.
- 2 bottles dry red wine
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 oranges
- 4 cardamom pods, broken open to release flavour
- 4 small sticks cinnamon
- 4 cloves
- 4 star anise
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 8 packham pears
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Combine the wine and sugar in a large deep saucepan. Peel the zest from the oranges with a peeler and add the peel to the saucepan.
Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours.
Carefully peel the pears leaving the stems attached. Stand the pears in the wine mixture in the saucepan. Cut a piece of baking paper that is the same size as the saucepan, push the paper down on top of the pears to keep them submerged in the wine.
Bring the wine and spices to a simmer over a medium-low heat and cook for 10–15 minutes, turn the pears, recover with the baking paper and continue to cook for another 20 minutes or until the pears are tender when pierced with a skewer.
Carefully arrange the pears in a large sterilised jar and pour over the wine and spices, cover the jar and allow to stand for 2–3 days before serving. Once opened store in the refrigerator.
Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.