BBC Good Food Cheese Club
Read about the all-new BBC Good Food Cheese Club. Curated cheese, delivered straight to your door.
Before you start, cut out a circle of baking parchment using a large pan as a template. (This is called a cartouche, and will cover the pears later – it should be the same size as the pan to keep the pears submerged and the liquid from evaporating too quickly). Set aside. Tip the sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla seeds and pod, cardamom, wine and 200ml water into the pan. Peel strips of the lemon zest, avoiding the pith. Drop in the strips of zest, then warm over a low heat until the mix is steaming and the sugar has dissolved.
Peel the pears, leaving the stalks intact. Slice in half lengthways through the core, then use a melon baller or small, sharp knife to remove the hard core and pips. Carefully place the pears in the steaming liquid, then turn up the heat to medium- low and bring to a simmer. Cover the surface with the circle of baking parchment and cook the pears for 20-30 mins, or until they can be pierced with the tip of a knife with little resistance.
Meanwhile, sterilise two 1-litre jam jars. When the pears are cooked and still hot, transfer to the jars with any aromatics from the pan. Top up with the poaching liquid so the pears are covered. Seal and leave to cool. Will keep for up to six months in a cool place. Serve with ice cream or hot chocolate sauce, if you like.