I woke up and looked out the window. Winter has finally come. It's been bitterly cold for sometime now, and we finally got our first snow. I love how quiet and still the snow makes the world seem. It's like being inside of a snow globe that hasn't been shaken up in quite a while. There's no hurry to get things done, no hurry to go outside and make those first impressions of feet in the freshly fallen snow. For now we'll keep it like it is, we'll keep it smooth and unmarked. We'll stay inside.
This recipe is great for cold winter nights by the fire. While it's cooking it will fill your house with the warm aromas of winter. This recipe is fairly simple to put together, but looks and tastes so elaborate once plated and served, you'll feel like a true gourmet chef!
4 ripe yet very firm Bosc or Bartlett pears
4 cups water
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
4-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 star anise pod, broken in half
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
You may peel the pears if you'd prefer, but I like to leave the skins on and cut them in half from top to bottom, leaving the stems intact. Core each pear half by scooping out the center with a melon baller or spoon.
Add the water, honey, and sugar to a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until the sugar and honey are dissolved, then add the ginger, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon stick.
Place the pears into the liquid and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pears can be just pierced with a fork.
Transfer the pears and the poaching liquid to a smaller container, cover, and refrigerate overnight. (You can eat the pears immediately, if you'd like, but they will have a deeper flavor after sitting overnight in the poaching liquid.) The next day drain and serve the pears with your favorite homemade vanilla ice cream!