Poaching fruit and storing in syrup is such an old-fashioned way of preserving for the colder month when fresh fruit is hard to come by. My grandma was a master in this fine art and had a cellar full of jam jar treasures. Cherries, apples, plums and of course pears from her garden on to our plate to complement pancakes or rice pudding or as a quick dessert in their own sweet juices.
This recipe is great for the firm winter pears you find these days as they will get soft throughout the cooking process but still keep their shape and won't get too mushy. You can keep the pears in the fridge for some days or freeze them in the syrup to use another day. You also don't need to strain the ginger and lemon peel as they will crystallise in the process and will taste great. The syrup would also be great with other desserts. Think panna cotta or brighten up humble yoghurt for breakfast.
POACHED PEARS WITH GINGER SYRUP
6 ripe but firm pears
3 cups dry white wine (Riesling is great)
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
knob of ginger
1 lemon (peel and juice)
In a medium pot combine the wine, sugar, salt, lemon peel and juice and julienne of ginger. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Peel the pears and add to the liquid. Cover with a lid slightly ajar and simmer for about 15-30 minutes depending on the size of your pears. They are done when easily poked through with a knife. Transfer the pears to a plate and leave to cool. Meanwhile reduce the remaining liquid to a syrup. Boil for about 20 minutes. Serve the pears cold with warm syrup and maybe some ice cream or a dollop of crème Chantilly.