Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Poached Pears
Last night, this New York Times article by Mark Bittman inspired me to make poached pears. I love pears in all forms, so it was surprising that I hadn't ever poached them myself at home before. Bittman made it sound quite simple, so I was eager to give it a whirl.
As you'll see in Bittman's article, the poaching relies on a very simple ratio. Use two parts water to one part sugar. If you'd like to add additional flavors, just mix them in to the pot of sugar and water with your pears and wait for the delicious results.
Any kind of pears will do and I used Bartlett. I had some vanilla sugar on hand, so I used that and also threw in a split vanilla bean. Finally, I added a generous sprinkling of cinnamon to the pot. Here's how the pears looked as they were simmering away in their vanilla bean, cinnamon and sugar bath:
These pears were extraordinary! So easy to make, but so delicious. The vanilla and cinnamon flavors were just right and the pears had poached to a pleasant level of tenderness. I'm sure these would be absolutely lovely over vanilla ice cream or perhaps atop a nice pound cake, but they were so tasty on their own, we chose to eat them alone, still warm from the pan.
Confession time: After we had eaten the pears, there was a decent amount of poaching liquid (the water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon mixture) left in the pan. I thought about what other delightful things I could make with this liquid gold and then decided I'd simply gulp it down myself, while standing in the kitchen in front of the stove. This is a true story. I know that was so, so wrong, but let me tell you it felt so, so right.