Our recipe calls for the pears to be halved, not served whole, which makes them easier to eat. It also makes them perfect for serving over ice cream or Greek yogurt (or with cottage cheese for breakfast). Reserve any poaching liquid for a flavorful addition to cocktails or iced tea, or mix it into hot cereal.
Use ripe, but not soft (or overly ripe) pears in this recipe so that they maintain their shape while cooking. Did you know that pears are not supposed ripen on the tree? That’s why they are hard when you purchase them. For tips on how to best ripen pears, and how to tell when a pear is ripe, here are some tips from USA Pears (not a client, just good info).
I’ve been experimenting with using coconut sugar in recipes, and so I used a mixture of coconut sugar and granulated sugar in this recipe, which lent the pears a nice color, but using all granulated sugar is perfectly fine. Feel free to adjust the spices to your taste. I happen to love the spiciness of cloves, but f you prefer more vanilla flavor and less cloves, alter accordingly.
- 3 cups hot water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (mix of coconut sugar and granulated sugar works)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3-5 whole cloves
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise to release seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch kosher salt
- 6 fresh pears (Bosc, Anjou or Bartlett)
- ground cinnamon, optional garnish
- fresh mint leaves, optional garnish
- Stir together all ingredients except pears and garnishes in the slow cooker crock until sugar dissolves; set aside.
- Peel, halve lengthwise, and core the pears. Add them to the crock and gently toss to coat them with the liquid. All pear halves should be mostly submerged in the poaching liquid.
- Cover and cook 5 - 6 hours on LOW (or 1.5 - 3 hours on HIGH). Pears should be fork-tender. Cool pears to room temperature, uncovered, in the poaching liquid. Remove the vanilla bean. Use a paring knife to scrape any vanilla seeds into the poaching liquid.
- Transfer pears and poaching liquid to a container an refrigerate until needed.
- Serve the pears cold, at room temperature or slightly warmed. Drizzle with a bit of poaching liquid and garnish with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon and fresh mint, if desired.
Technique Tip: A melon baller works well for coring picture-perfect pears. If you don't have one, use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds and pith from the pears.