Poached Pears with Vanilla Sauce
This dessert is a great ending to a special-occasion meal. Whole pears are lightly spiced and chilled, then served with a heavenly custard sauce.—Al Latimer, Bentonville, Arizona
Total TimePrep: 25 min. Cook: 25 min. + chilling
- 2-1/3 cups sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 cups water, divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
- 6 medium firm pears, stems attached
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
- 3 whole cloves
- In a heavy 2-qt. saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in milk and cream until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Gradually add a small amount of hot mixture to egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly (do not boil). Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl; place a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap on top of sauce. Cover and refrigerate.
- In a large bowl, combine 6 cups water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Carefully peel pears, leaving stems attached. Immediately plunge pears into lemon water. In a large saucepan, combine lemon zest, and the remaining sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Add cinnamon stick, cloves and pears. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until pears are tender.
- Carefully remove pears to a plate. Discard cinnamon stick and cloves. Drizzle syrup over pears. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. To serve, place pears on dessert plates; drizzle with chilled vanilla sauce.