Pears in Pomegranate Juice
Back when I made this dessert for the first time, pomegranate juice was not yet widely available, so I had to juice the pomegranates myself. It was a true labor of love, involving twelve large pomegranates, a lot of pressing, and red-stained hands. These days, with bottled pomegranate juice easily accessible, it’s quick work to get this project going. You can use any type of pear for this, but Bosc pears are best because they take longer to cook, which gives them more time to absorb the aromatic pomegranate juice, and they hold their shape well after poaching. Recipe and photos from Extraordinary Vegan* by Alan Roettinger ©2013, reprinted by Book Publishing Company, by permission. Photo by Andrew Schmidt.
- 4 ripe Bosc pears, with stems intact
- 4 cups pomegranate juice
- 7 green cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
Select a medium saucepan that will accommodate the pears snugly in an upright position, allowing space for the stems to fit with the lid in place.
Core the pears from the bottom to remove the seeds, leaving as much of the flesh as possible. Peel the pears, leaving the stems attached. Trim the bottoms slightly, so the pears can stand up straight. Put them in the saucepan and add the juice. It’s normal for the pears to turn on their sides and float at first. If you have a large strainer, set it over the pears gently to keep them submerged.
Break open the cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Crush the seeds to a gritty powder in a mortar with a pestle or on a cutting board with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the cardamom seeds and bay leaf to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the pears are tender, 20 to 45 minutes. to test the pears for tenderness, insert a paring knife into the thickest part and lift. the pear should slip off easily.
Using tongs, grasp the pears by the stems and lift them out of the saucepan, allowing several seconds for the juice to drain well. Set them on a plate.
Increase the heat to high and bring the juice to a boil. Boil until the juice is reduced to about 3⁄4 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. It should be a fairly dense syrup, thick enough to coat a spoon. If any juice has accumulated around the pears, carefully tip the plate and let it run back into the saucepan. remove from the heat and let the syrup cool for about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
Using a large spoon, drizzle the syrup over the pears. Lift the pears with the tongs and transfer them to dessert plates. Drizzle again with the syrup and serve at once.
Variation: Chop 1 cup raw or roasted pistachios into 1⁄4-inch-thick bits. Put the pistachios in a coarse strainer and shake to strain out any very fine, powdery bits. Put the chopped pieces in a medium bowl. After drizzling the pears with syrup, roll them in the pistachios until evenly coated. Carefully set the pears on dessert plates and pour a little of the syrup around them. Serve at once.
Per serving: 250 calories, 1 g protein, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 64 g carbohydrates, 0 mg sodium, 20 mg calcium, 6 g fiber
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