My aunt has promised to make me a chart of Kenya's seasons, but I can tell you for sure that now is definitely pear season. At the Farmer's Market on Saturday, there were ten a penny; large, hard pears, that make for perfect poached delicacies.
I'm poaching them largely for breakfast indulgence. Whilst Wiz tucks into his orange chilli marmalade, I'll be having my routine porridge; and since I'm avoiding dairy, I need something else to make it exciting. Poached pears seemed like the ideal 'sweetener', especially having drawn inspiration from David Lebovitz's blog.
3 - 4 large pears
1 split vanilla pod
1 litre water
265 gms sugar
1 stick cinnamon
Get a heavy based saucepan, fill with the water and sugar. Heat gently until simmering. Meanwhile, peel, core and quarter your pears. Ensure the sugar has fully dissolved before gently lowering your pears into the water, along with the vanilla pod, cinnamon stick and peppercorns.
David Lebovitz recommends covering the saucepan with a circle of baking paper - I agree, it worked very well. So get the lid of your saucepan, put it over a sheet of baking paper, draw around it to make a circle. Cut this out. Fold the circle as though you were going to make a cone, and cut the point off, to form a hole in the middle of the paper. Cover the pears with this.
Allow the pears to simmer on a low heat, in this mixture until they are soft. Mine took around an hour partly due to ripeness and partly to size, so just keep an eye on them. The vanilla will split so that the mixture is flecked with miniscule black dots, and the cinnamon will spread through the liquid. I added raisins at the end - whilst the liquid is still warm, throw a handful in. They plump up as they absorb the moisture, and give your pears another dimension.
The combination is irresistible.
Serve with thick cream, fresh vanilla ice-cream... or porridge if it's breakfast.
Footnote: next time I make these, I'm going to use a lot less sugar, as the syrup is too sweet for me! I would recommend cutting this amount in half - and using 130gms.