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Poached pears

Poached pears
Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

DECEMBER is a month for feasting -- which is not necessarily to say gorging, though it sometimes seems like it. Eating well is not the same thing as stuffing yourself and eating sensibly is not the same as being dull. ... Read more

Total time: 50 minutes, plus 8 hours chilling | Serves 8
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon thin strips of orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 Seckel pears, peeled
  • 1/4 cup ruby port
  • 8 teaspoons vanilla yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons chestnut honey

Step 1Combine the sugar, 3 cups water, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, orange peel and lemon juice in a 2-quart saucepan. Simmer until the syrup is clear, 2 minutes.

Step 2Add the pears; bring to a simmer. Place a circle of parchment paper over the pears. Cover the pan and simmer until the pears are tender, 30 minutes. Add the port. Place the pears and liquid in a bowl so that the pears are submerged. Place another parchment round on the pears. Cover; chill overnight.

Step 3Remove the pears from the syrup. Reduce the syrup in a small saucepan over medium-high heat to 1 cup. Cool, then chill.

Step 4To serve, cut the pears in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut each pear half into thirds and fan out on top of each spongecake round. Place a teaspoon of yogurt on top, then a half teaspoon of the honey. Drizzle the chilled syrup around each cake round.

Note: Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut circles from a home-baked or purchased spongecake.


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