A hit on any cheese plate, these Brandy Poached Pears are easy to prepare and can be made well ahead of your guests’ arrival. The pears lend themselves to pairing with a variety of wines and cheeses too! Try the Nobilo Chardonnay with a mascarpone or Fontina, the Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc with Caulkins, or the Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir with a Cayuga Blue. For this and more recipes like it, check out Composing the Cheese Plate by Brian Keyser and Leigh Friend.
- 12 Seckel pears
- 1 medium lemon
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup pear brandy
- 1 1/2 cup Nobilo Chardonnay (or other white wine)
- 1 1/2 cup ight brown sugar
- 2 pods star anise
- Peel the pears using a vegetable peeler, leaving the stem on. Cut the pears in half lengthwise, including the stems. Scoop out the seeds using a melon baller or small spoon. Discard the seeds.
- Using the vegetable peeler, remove the zest from half the lemon, forming long strips. Reserve the lemon for another use.
- Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with the tip of a paring knife. Reserve half the bean for another use. Scrape out the seeds using the tip of the knife, dragging from one end to the other.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the brandy, wine, brown sugar, vanilla seeds and bean, lemon peel, star anise, and 3 cups of water to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes to cook off some of the alcohol.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer. Gently lower the pears into the poaching liquid. Poach the pears, stirring about every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The pears should be soft but not overcooked. When you pierce a pear with a paring knife, it should come out easily.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Gently remove the pears from the liquid using a slotted spoon, and place on a plate. Chill the pears until cool. Place the cooled pears in an airtight container and cover with the poaching liquid.
- Keep refrigerated. Serve cold, warm, or at room temperature. Chef’s notes: If you are unable to find Seckel pears, you may use a firm pear such as Bosc. Make ahead. They will keep for up to 1 week.