Think pears are a boring autumn staple? Think again. Amaretto Pears takes succulent poached pears and wraps them in an almond based liqueur to transform them into an incredibly stylish dessert. Make yourself a jar and keep them handy for next time you need to impress a guest at short notice.
When I think of summertime I think of school holidays, balmy winds and long evenings. I look forward to plenty of ice cream, chilled out salads and lazy BBQs. It’s the season to unwind, take a break and relax. And, sweet joy, summer is also the season for windfalls of fruit with short shelf lives begging to be eaten by us before the heat turns it all to mush. Yes, my friends, summer is the season for endless jam making and frantic preserving.
Since I like to be seasonal, over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing recipes I’ve created that help use up or prolong the life of fruit. On my list are Amaretto Pears along with Cinnamon Bourbon Cherries. I've also got a clever way to rescue over-ripe strawberries that just so happens to yield the best strawberry sauce I’ve ever tasted.
Today I’m talking about the pears. I often feel sorry for pears. They come into their own during very late summer/ early autumn. But because their golden hour coincides with the decline of our much-prized summer berries and stone fruit, pears seem to get labelled as boring. A ripe pear is a treat in itself: sweet, floral and juicy. And I think this recipe for Amaretto Poached Pears shows that this humble fruit is the exact opposite of boring.
I’ve transformed this steady, reliable, taken for granted fruit into an elegant dessert by poaching a few and leaving them to soak in almond liqueur. These Amaretto Pears are easy to make and a great way to extend the life of already ripe fruit. They are definitely smart enough to grace the table at your next swanky dinner party.
How to Make Amaretto Poached Pears
Pears can be poached by allowing them to cook until tender in a pan of simmering liquid, usually sweetened.
These poached pears are simmered in a light syrup of sugar and water that has been amplified with a burst of flavour from vanilla and star anise.
Once the pears have been cooked, they are then transferred to a jar. A generous measure of Amaretto is poured over and the jar is topped up with the delicately spiced cooking syrup.
Use any pears that you have to hand for this recipe, but for best results, ensure the pears are already ripe. I like to use small pears, since they pack into jars more easily than larger ones.
Can Poached Pears be Made in Advance?
Amaretto poached pears are an ideal dessert to make ahead of time. They really do need to bathe in the Amaretto syrup for a few days to pick up the flavour. Of course, the longer the pears are left, the deeper the flavour gets.
Serve the Amaretto pears as they are with a generous glug of that golden Amaretto syrup spooned into the bowl. A side of ice cream or cream is optional but by no means essential.
Whipping up a jarful of Amaretto Pears is really a great way to use up a surplus of pears should you be lucky enough to get a seasonal windfall land in your fruit bowl. But they can be made at any time of the year. If you are feeling generous, then package them in a pretty jar and gift them to someone special.
Don’t forget to check back later this week for my equally easy and delightful Cinnamon Bourbon Cherries. If you're new here, why not make sure you don't miss out by signing up for my weekly email recipe notification?
Amaretto Pears: Poached Fruit
- 4-5 Small pears - depending on the size of your jar
- 400 ml/ 1 ¾ cups Water
- 4 tbsp Sugar
- 1 Star anise
- 1 Vanilla pod - split
- 120 ml/ ½ cup Amaretto almond liqueur
- Put the sugar, star anise and water into a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the pan and toss in the pod as well. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar
- Meanwhile peel the pears, taking care to leave the stem intact. Gently lower them into the saucepan, cover and bring up to a gently simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, until the pears are soft
- Drop the pears into the sterilised jar
- Pour the Amaretto over the pears and top up with the poaching syrup (there may be a little liquid left over, depending on the size of jar used).
- Ensure the pears are completely submerged in the liquid before sealing the jar
- Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks