Whole Poached Pears
Buy an extra pear (just in case) and make sure all of them have a stem and will stand up.
6 ripe but firm Bosc pears
2 cups tawny port
3 cups cranberry juice
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup cup sugar
1 ( 2-inch ) fresh ginger
1 ( 2-inch) cinnamon stick
2 ( 2-inch) pieces of orange peel
9 whole allspice kernels
1 TBS whole pink peppercorns
Choose a pot where all your pears can fit sideways. Slice the ginger into ¼-inch thick slices. Tie the peppercorns and allspice in a cheesecloth. Put all the ingredients (except the pears) in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, cut off the bottom of each pear so they can stand upright more easily when you serve them. Peel the pears carefully ( I use a peeler), leaving the stems intact. Carefully arrange the pears on their sides in the poaching liquid. Simmer, uncovered, until tender for about 20 minutes.
Gently remove the pears with a slotted spoon from the liquid. Discard the cheesecloth bag, boil the poaching liquid until it is reduced to 1½ cups, between 5-10 minutes. Remove the ginger, cinnamon stick and orange peel. Serve the pears warm or at room temperature with the syrup. I served mine with ice cream.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine