Makes 4 servings

When selecting pears—Bosc, Comice, Bartlett, D’anjou or French Butter Pears—choose fruit that is fairly firm.

Poaching Liquid:
           Makes 3/4 cup
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Zest of one-quarter orange or half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon thickener (kuzu root starch or arrowroot powder)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons apple cider or apple juice


2 pears, peeled if desired, halved lengthwise and cored with a melon baller or spoon
Mint or small scented geranium leaves for garnish

1. Place juice, syrup, zest and cardamom in a 3-quart pot or a skillet in which pears fit snugly. Bring to a simmer and whisk to blend ingredients. Add the pears cut side down. When simmering resumes, cover pot to poach until fruit is tender when pierced with a small sharp knife, 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Transfer pears to serving platter or individual plates. Whisk to dissolve thickener with vanilla extract in cider or juice. Add to pot and whisk until mixture thickens, in about a minute. Pour sauce over pears to serve. Garnish stem ends.

Variations: Perfect Poached Pears with Apple-Tahini Cream: For a rich flavor, add 2 teaspoons sesame tahini to poaching liquid with thickener.
Include other spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and/or Chinese 5 spice. Garnish with 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and chopped

For 4 servings, per serving:
Calories: 139   Protein: 0.9gm   Fat: 2gm   Saturated Fat: 0.2gm   Carbohydrates: 30gm   Fiber: 2gm    Cholesterol: 0   Sodium: 3mg
Calories from Protein: 3%     Calories from Fats: 12%     Calories from Carbohydrates: 85%