Every time I make poached pears I don’t know why I don’t make them more often. They are such a lovely, light, elegant dessert, simple to make and gorgeous on the table. They can easily be made ahead and refrigerated until needed, making them a great choice for holiday entertaining.
Pears are underrated. When you bite into a perfectly ripe pear, you know. Bartletts have a juicy, sweet, delicate flavour and soft, succulent texture. They turn golden when ripe but a more accurate test for all varieties is to press the neck of the pear. If it is still hard, leave it on the counter for a couple of days. It can be a little tricky to check for ripeness, which has probably led to the belief that there is only one day when a pear is perfectly ripe. Have you heard that? Luckily this recipe is very forgiving — you actually want slightly underripe pears that are firm but not too hard.
Like many of you, I most often associate sage with savoury dishes, the most famous being dressing or stuffing. Sage is a complex flavour, aromatic and earthy. I first tasted the combination of blackberries and sage in an ice cream flavour. The combination is surprising and delightful, and adds depth and sophistication to this simple dessert.
Fresh or frozen blackberries work well. I used frozen wild blackberries that I had picked in the summer, which were quite sweet. Commercial varieties can be tart so you may need to sweeten the sauce.
This month’s Recipe Redux is all about trimming the table. “Show us the healthy holiday dessert you will be sharing with family and friends this season.” I can’t think of a more perfect dessert than these elegant poached pears. I can’t wait to gather up more ideas from all the recipe redux members to add to my holiday collection. Check out the link at the bottom of this post.
Poached Pears with Blackberry Sage Sauce
2 cups blackberries
3 cups apple juice
1 cup water
10 fresh sage leaves
In a medium saucepan add blackberries, apple juice, sage leaves and water. Heat on medium heat.
Peel pears and gently cut out the blossom end. Trim the bottoms so the pears can stand on their own especially if you are serving them upright. Add the pears to the poaching liquid and cook on low-medium for 30-35 minutes until a knife easily slides through them. Turn them occasionally as they start to absorb the colour from the blackberries.
Remove pears and strain remaining liquid through a sieve. Return liquid to saucepan, heat on medium and reduce for approximately 30 minutes to thicken it a little and concentrate the flavours. Taste for sweetness and sweeten if desired.