Pears are one of the world’s most ancient cultivated fruits. There are over 3,000 known pear varieties grown around the world in temperate zones (peak season is July through January), each with a distinctive character, texture, and flavor. The most popular and recognizable pears are the yellow Bartlett, with a true pear shape, followed by the elegant, egg-shaped Anjou, (also called d’Anjou), the graceful Bosc, pudgy Comice, and tiniest Forelle. Pears poached in red wine or Port make an elegant-but-simple dessert, but this sweeter method of poaching in white wine is a pleasant alternative. Serve the pears with nicely with Italian mascarpone, tangy crème fraîche, blue cheese, or lemon curd whipped cream.
1. In a saucepan large enough to hold the pears, combine the wine, honey, sugar,
lemon juice, cloves, cinnamon, and orange peel. Bring gently to a boil, and then
reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Add the pears, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes more, or until the pears
are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove from the heat, and let
the pears cool in the syrup. Serve at room temperature or cold with lemon curd
3. To make the whipped cream, beat cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks
form. Add the lemon curd and whip for 1 minute more, or until blended.