Wine-poached pears

Country Life Every Week - - Kitchen Garden Cook Pears -

Peel 6 pears, but leave the stalk in­tact, then bring a large saucepan con­tain­ing a bot­tle of red wine, 300ml wa­ter, 150g sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, a few cloves, a tea­spoon vanilla-bean paste, or­ange and lemon zest and a hand­ful each of dried apri­cots and figs or other dried fruit you may have to a sim­mer and cook for about 25 min­utes, un­til the pears are soft and the dried fruit plump.

Re­move the fruit with a slot­ted spoon and ar­range on a plat­ter. Scat­ter chopped nuts such as pis­ta­chio, cashews and hazel­nuts over it. Re­turn the wine syrup to the heat and sim­mer again un­til very re­duced and syrupy. I like to serve the fruit cold, but with the syrup hot, and driz­zle a lit­tle sin­gle cream over the top of the pears.

Pears ‘on horse­back’

(be­low) Cut three pears into four wedges each, re­move the stalk and stem and wrap each quar­ter in a ba­con rasher, then bake—on a foillined bak­ing sheet, to avoid any scrub­bing later—in a hot oven for about 30 min­utes or un­til the ba­con is browned. Serve im­me­di­ately as a canapé or add to a salad (while still warm) as a starter.

Gin­ger-and­pear chut­ney

Peel and core 2lb of pears (about six) and cut them into chunks. Add them to a large pan, along with 2 sprigs rose­mary, 125g dried apri­cots, 125g prunes, 200g sul­tanas, 100g crys­tallised gin­ger, 2 peeled and chopped red onions, 1 ap­ple, 250g brown sugar and 500ml ap­ple-cider vine­gar. Bring­ing them to a sim­mer, cook for about an hour, un­til thick­ened, stir­ring to make sure the base doesn’t burn. Re­move the rose­mary and spoon into ster­ilised jars, place wax pa­per on the sur­face, leave to cool and then seal. Serve with ma­ture cheeses.

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