Poached pears that are sliced and served with goat cheese and puff pastry make for an elegant and impressive-looking appetizer at any cocktail party or holiday dinner. Try poaching them in a spiced black tea for a more complex flavor.
As a self-taught cook, I’m always looking to expand my food knowledge and experiment with new-to-me cooking processes. So when USA Pears said they were looking for bloggers to develop a recipe using poached pears, I decided that the time was ripe (ha, see what I did there?) to experiment with poaching.
The poaching process was far more simple than I had expected. Poached eggs are supposed to be so difficult and intimidating, so I guess I assumed that poaching fruit would be the same. I was wrong – if you can simmer liquid, you can poach pears! A few tips I found that helped things run a little more smoothly:
- Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that they will stand up in the pot without tipping over.
- Leave the stems on the pears. They will help you stabilize the fruit as you move them from pot to plate so you don’t have to grab and dent the poached pears.
Three of my four pears weren’t quite ripe yet (as evidenced by the fact that the neck of the pears didn’t yield when I gently pressed on them), but that was fine. Actually, the underripe pears held their shape well, while the ripe one got a little overly soft. If you can, stick with pears that are barely underripe when you’re poaching them.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing a poaching liquid. I used a spiced black tea- mine was cinnamon-flavored, but something with a little citrus or a chai tea would work just as well. To amplify the spice flavor a little further, I also used my chai-infused sugar, though you could easily use regular granulated sugar instead.
Since I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year (for the first time since 2010!), I’ve been hunting for some simple recipes I can contribute to my aunt’s big feast that won’t take up any valuable stove or oven real estate. These poached pears with goat cheese and puff pastry are a serious contender, since I could poach and slice the pears and bake the puff pastry the night before, and just assemble them right before serving.
Poached pears are incredibly simple to make, but they look impressive. Serve them with goat cheese and puff pastry for a delicious holiday appetizer.
You will likely have extra pears, unless you are entertaining a huge crowd (in which case you’ll want to up the amount of puff pastry and goat cheese you use!). If that’s the case, refrigerate the leftovers and slice them into oatmeal or ice cream, or make a pear crisp!
- 4 red or green Anjou pears
- 3 cups brewed black tea
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar I used my chai-infused sugar , but regular is fine
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 packages puff pastry
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- Peel the pears, leaving the stems attached. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that it will stand upright.
- Stir the tea, water and sugar together in a stockpot big enough to hold all four pears. You should be able to put the lid on over the pears as well. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the tea, and then toss the bean pod into the liquid as well.
- Cover the liquid and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low so that the tea is just simmering.
- Place the pears in the pot upright and put the lid back on.
- Cook the pears at a light simmer (the liquid should be just barely bubbling) for 20 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the pears to a large platter or bowl, standing them upright if you can. Refrigerate until cool.
- While the pears cool, bring the tea back to a boil and reduce the liquid to 3/4 cups, stirring often. Cool.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and cut the puff pastry into 2” squares.
- Bake the puff pastry for 16-18 minutes, or until golden-brown, at 400°F. Use the back of a small spoon or the handle of a wooden spoon to create an indent in the top of each piece of puff pastry.
- Spread 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons of goat cheese into the indent of each puff pastry, and top with two small slices of poached pears. Drizzle with the reduced tea and serve immediately.
Looking for more poached pears inspiration? Check out these recipes from some of my fellow bloggers:
- Amaretto maple poached pears – Recipe Runner
- Apple cider poached pears in cinnamon sugar puff pastry – Bakerista
- Cider poached pears with cinnamon whipped cream – Greens & Chocolate
- Spiced poached pear crumble – Blahnik Baker
PS: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.