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What Is a Poached Pear?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn

A poached pear is a pear that is slowly boiled or otherwise cooked in a liquid. This example of poached food highlights the innate sweetness and flavor of the pear and its unique texture. Poached pears can be eaten singly or used in a variety of more complex recipes.

The methods for poaching pears differ widely, but generally, the pear is slow cooked to preserve its form and seal in its rich flavor. The surface of the pear may brown with poaching. This cooking method releases more of the taste of this fruit.

Bosc pears are a favorite for poaching.
Bosc pears are a favorite for poaching.

Although this fruit is high in sugars, it is virtually devoid of the cholesterol, fats and sodium that mark a lot of processed food. A poached pear draws on the nutritional value of the pear itself. In addition, the sugars in the pear are natural to the food, making the poached pear dish an example of cooking with whole foods, a method that has become more and more popular in some modern food cultures.

Poached pears can be eaten right away or refrigerated for future uses. Those who are offering this dish to others should take care to regard common food standards for storage of these semi-perishable items. Some cooks will make the poaching process easier by using a microwave oven to heat the pears. Others may use slower cooking methods.

In some recipes for poached pears, experts reveal tips for the best final results. Many recommend starting with firm, solid pears. Bosc and Bartlett varieties are especially popular for this dish. Some cooks will use a light cover over the pan to help seal in moisture.

Aside from their popularity as a simple fruit dish, poached pears are used in many different culinary creations. In the baking arena, a poached pear might provide a sweet topping for a tart, Danish, or other pastry. Poached pears can also be useful in some versions of salads that rely on the sweet tastes of fruit, rather than savory items like cheeses and meats.

In addition to poaching pears in water, some cooks will poach these fruits in more flavorful liquids that give the dish a whole new flavor. Wine or vanilla extract can go into a poaching mix for pears. Some of these improved liquids will also add a rich color to the resulting sauce and help with the presentation of the dish. Often, the whole pear is served on a plate with its bottom submerged in the rich sauce.

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    • Bosc pears are a favorite for poaching.
      By: Bronwyn Photo
      Bosc pears are a favorite for poaching.