lemon and lemongrass poached pears

Lindsey Bareham

There’s a hint of Thailand to the zingy, lemony flavours of these poached pears. They can be kept, covered, in the fridge for a few days without spoiling. The pears and their juices are delicious alone or with cream or could be fished out of their liquor and served with slivers of pecorino or parmesan. The juice is delicious spritzed with soda or tonic.

serves 6, prep 20 min, cook 40 min plus cooling

750ml dry white wine
2 tbsp honey
12 small or 6 large conference pears
1 lemon
1 lemongrass stalk
Pouring cream to serve

Pour the wine and honey into a lidded pan that can hold the pears in a single layer. Give the lemongrass a bash with something heavy to release the flavours. Remove two paper-thin, long strips of zest. Add both to the pan. Simmer over a medium-low heat, swirling the pan a few times until the honey dissolves. Simmer while you peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact. If the pears are small, cut out the core in a small cone shape. If large, halve lengthways and cut out core.

Smear the fruit with lemon juice to avoid discoloration. Immerse in the wine and return the liquid to the boil. Immediately reduce the heat, cover and cook until tender — about 20 min — turning them half way through cooking if not immersed. Stand whole pears or pile pear halves in a serving dish. Simmer the liquid for 10 min until slightly reduced and syrupy. Pour the juices over the pears. Cool, cover and chill until required.