Poached pears are a simple staple. Something that can be turned into a dessert, a drink, a breakfast or a tart. Easily prepared and stored in advance of a dinner party or kept for a few days worth of breakfasts, they’re something to keep in mind for those last minute panics when people are coming for dinner and you feel like doing something impressive with those pears you forgot to eat….

Store the poached pears in the fridge for a few days to be used in desserts such as pear and almond tart or with vanilla ice cream or keep them for breakfast – tossed with a little honey, natural yogurt and maybe some muesli. Otherwise use in puree form to add to a glass of champagne or prosecco for a sweet and spicy aperitif.

What you’ll need

4 pears – ripe and firm so that they’ll hold their shape.

200 grams sugar

1litre water

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

a few cloves

vanilla essence

Other spices and flavourings can be added as you see fit – star anise, tonka beans, dried fruits, orange peel, lemon…

What to do

Peel, core and quarter the pears. Heat the water until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and simmer on a low heat. Add the cinnamon and maple syrup and the spices you choose. Cover the surface of the water so the pears stay submerged (use some baking parchment as a layer for example). Simmer until the pears are soft but still firm enough to retain their shape. Test with a fork. Remove when done and let cool.