Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active Time
26 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 41 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 pear, about 1 tbsp. syrup, and 1 tbsp. crème fraîche)

The ruby hue of the hibiscus syrup is a holiday showstopper. Drizzle over spiced poached pears for a dessert that’s a bit lighter, gluten-free, and still feels holiday-special. The key to beautifully poached pears is to cook them at a low heat in just enough liquid to submerge the fruit—any more and the warm spices in the liquid may be lost. A parchment paper topper and a plate will keep liquid from evaporating and make sure the pears cook evenly. Reduce additional poaching liquid and reserve as the base for holiday cocktails, the sweet component of a salad dressing, or a drizzle for your cheese board.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Add honey and salt, stirring until honey dissolves. Remove pan from heat; add tea bags, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and orange rind. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, and discard.

Step 2

Peel pears, leaving stems intact. Add pears to pan. Add 1 to 2 cups remaining water to just cover pears. Cut a large piece of parchment paper into a 10-inch circle. Place parchment circle on top of pears; top with an upturned plate to submerge pears. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 1 hour or until pears are tender. Remove pears from pan with a slotted spoon.

Step 3

Strain poaching liquid over a bowl, reserving 2 cups poaching liquid (reserve remaining liquid for another use). Bring 2 cups poaching liquid to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high; cook 20 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup syrup. Combine crème fraîche and vanilla in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve pears with syrup and crème fraîche mixture.

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