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Title: Poached Pears with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
* 4 medium sized pears, ripe but firm (Bosc or Anjou work well) * 3 cups port wine * 2 cups water * 1/2 cup sugar * 1 lemon * 2 cinnamon sticks * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract * 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice * 1 quart vanilla bean ice cream
- Begin by creating the poaching liquid. In a medium saucepan combine wine, water, sugar, and spices. Using a vegetable peeler remove 1 strip of zest from the lemon and add to the pot. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into the pot also. Set over high heat and bring to a boil as you stir.
- Take a sharp knife and cut off a small slice from the bottom of the pear so it has a stable base. Using an apple corer, or the tip of a paring knife, carefully remove the core from the bottom. Peel the pears but leave the stems attached.
- Place the pears in the poaching liquid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes until just tender and the tip of a paring knife goes through with a little resistance. Stir occasionally so the pears color and cook evenly all over. The cooking time will vary depending on the ripeness of the pears. Shut off heat and allow pears to cool in the poaching liquid. Once pears have cooled remove them from liquid. Pour half of the liquid into a container and reserve for another use. Bring the remaining liquid back to a boil on stove top and reduce by half. Serve warm or place all in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Serve pears standing upright in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a ladleful of the reduced poaching liquid.