Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce

There’s something exotic-sounding about a poached pear.  It doesn’t really mater if it’s poached in water, fruit juice or wine, the presentation will make your family and friends salivate.  So simple to make and you can fiddle with the poaching ingredients to suit your taste (i.e. orange peel, star anise, ginger, lemon peel).  Poaching in red wine is also very dramatic and because the liquid is reduced, it becomes a rich, delicious syrup.  Click here to view my red wine poached pears with rice pudding.

Serves 4
4 cups water
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 Bosc pears, peeled
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 vanilla bean,  split
2-3 star anise
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Simple Chocolate Sauce -
1/2 cup Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips (or any good-quality bittersweet chocolate)
2 to 3 tablespoons cream (whole milk will work, too)

In a large pot, heat the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients (except cranberries or raisins). Cover with parchment paper with a small hole cut in the center and place a lid on the pot.  Simmer and cook the pears 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the pears and how ripe they are.  You want the pears soft but not falling apart.  Remove from heat and let the pears cool in the liquid.  While the poaching liquid is still warm, add the cranberries or raisins.

For the chocolate sauce, place chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl and add the cream or milk.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Remove and stir to combine cream with chocolate.  If necessary, return to microwave and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add more cream if sauce is too thick.  Drizzle over the tops of the pears.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Delicious and light! Serve the pears by themselves or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  You can also refrigerate the pears overnight in the poaching liquid.  Bring the pears to room temperature before serving.  If you like, reduce the poaching liquid to a cup and spoon over the pears.  Enjoy!

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