I’m honored to introduce my friend Jackie Ourman, who is sharing some words of healthy New Year wisdom and an amazing recipe for poached pears with us today.
In case you don’t know her already (I’m betting many of you do!), Jackie is a chef, recipe developer and food writer. She recently worked as a test kitchen contributor at Bon Appétit Magazine and graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City with highest honors. Jackie began her culinary journey after she and her son were diagnosed with celiac disease, in addition to other food allergies, in 2011. She is passionate about creating recipes that don’t feel like they are missing anything and resources for living well despite those diagnoses. Her work has been featured in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Epicurious and she shares recipes regularly on her blog, Celiac and Allergy Friendly Epicurean (C.A.F.E). You can also find Jackie on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Jackie’s recipes aren’t exclusively dairy free, though many are, and her culinary experience makes her well-versed in whipping up dishes like these shiraz poached pears for all of us!
I am so happy to be here with all of you today. I met Alisa at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in Denver and am really appreciative of the opportunity to connect with her readers. It is amazing to network and learn from other advocates in the community.
Alisa asked me to share a recipe and being that it is January, I thought a dessert might be taboo. However, the truth is, I don’t like to begin the year with a diet. I have in the past and it’s never stuck. In the end, I’ve been left with a feeling of failure and ultimately reverted back to poor eating habits. Diet is a four-letter word in my book.
My philosophy for this January is the same as the rest of the year
- Eat what my body is craving and do so in moderation
- Exercise as often as possible and recognize the ability and time to do so is a gift
- Eat foods in season and cook at home as much as possible since ultimately, the act of preparing your own food is truly healthy in every way
With that in mind, I am sharing this elegant poached pear dessert recipe. Desserts are meant to be savored and this one is so beautiful, I think you will be sure to save it for a special occasion or dinner at home. One of the best parts about this dessert is it can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. It is great for entertaining.
I have always been a chocolate girl when it comes to sweets but I learned this technique of poaching fruit in aromatics and wine during the first week of my pastry program in culinary school and it helped me see a whole new world of decadence. When picking pears for this recipe, be sure to find ones that aren’t too ripe and still have the stem attached. They are prettiest that way.
I used So Delicious Almond Milk Vanilla Ice cream because I found the almond flavor along with the crunch from the extra roasted almonds on top were the perfect complement to the flavor and texture of the poached pears. However, feel free to use your favorite ice cream and topping or just eat them straight away.
Special Diet Notes: Shiraz Poached Pears
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 1 750ml bottle of Shiraz (I used Yellow Tail)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 1" thick strips of orange peel (from about ¼ orange)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved
- 4 bosc pears, skin peeled, stem intact
- 1 pint So Delicious Dairy Free Almond Vanilla Ice Cream
- ½ cup roasted, salted almonds, chopped coarsely
- Add the Shiraz, sugar, orange peel, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean seeds and pod to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lay pears down on their side in the pan and reduce to simmering. Simmer on 15 minutes and then rotate pears to the other side and simmer an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until just tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove pears from the pan and bring liquid to a boil again. Continue boiling 25 to 30 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by ⅓ and thickened. You should have at least 1 cup of syrup remaining. Strain out the aromatics with a fine mesh sieve and reserve the sauce. You can serve the pears warm with sauce, ice cream and chopped almonds or pour sauce over them and reserve in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for the next day. Pears can be eaten cold, at room temperature or re-heated in the microwave.
I had not made poached pears in years but suddenly seemed to crave them. I picked pears that were shape and size, picture perfect, right to the stem. I had a bottle of Shiraz and wondered if that would pair with pears. That’s how I found your delightful recipe and words of wisdom. I used to love cooking but when I lost my precious husband, I no longer enjoyed cooking or any part of life. I am a breast cancer survivor & often approached to share with others facing the same fear & obstacles, I realized, I miss “happy” and have a need and even responsibility to find my joy again. I’ve always loved cooking and I decided to reclaim my smile. Your post reminded me – Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. God gave you today and He called it THE PRESENT. Feel blessed and enjoy your gift. I am now preparing dinner for ten dear friends who have carried me through, your lovely pears will be the center of attention. I am even using
edible gold on the stem and the chocolate leaves. I’m so excited about dinner, your pear recipe and kind words were the encouragement to get my creative juices flowing. I have even heard myself singing again for the first time in over two years. Thank you so very much for sharing not only a delicious recipe by a warm peace of your own heart. I am sincerely grateful.
It looks gorgeous Jackie!
I cannot tell you how many times I have had a soggy mess when trying to make poached pears. Jackie gives great tips on making the pear and also words of wisdom make so much sense. I have always believed in eating what I CRRRRAVE but eating it in moderation. This way, there is no need for dieting. Depriving the body of what it likes always ends in disaster. Thanks for the great tips and recipe, Jackie.
Thank you so much, Rini! Just checked out your wonderful site as well and am looking forward to seeing more of your recipes!
Omg these look amazing! I’m going to try making it in my Instant Pot.
Thanks, Kathy! Let me know how they turn out!
What an inspiring start to the new year. This recipe is also stunning.
Thank you so much, Kimberly Ann!
These pears are so visually stunning, and I’m imagining that they are delicious as they look. The best piece of your post for me today though was this phrase: “and recognize the ability and time to do so is a gift.” Whether in reference to exercise or any other activity we do for good, that is such an important mindset to establish – thanks for the uplifting reminder.
Jackie’s writing is full of so much wisdom, but I have to agree with you Renee – that phrase really struck a chord with me too.
Thank you Alisa and Renée! I truly believe it. I did not enjoy exercise most of my life. It felt like something I had to force myself to do. However, in the last few years, I learned to appreciate it for the luxury it is.
It’s so great to be on your site. Thanks for featuring my recipe! I hope your readers enjoy it! Xo
Such an honor Jackie – not only is your recipe amazing, your writing is too!
Oh my, these sound wonderful. My oldest daughter loves Shiraz, I bet she would enjoy this very much!
Marye, you can’t be old enough to have a daughter who can legally drink Shiraz let alone old enough to appreciate it!! 🙂
Thank you, Marye! I hope she does. Let me know!
Poached pears do make such a stunning after dinner treat!! I must try them some time!
That Shiraz really gave the pears a nice color. I’m planning to make a pear dessert for Valentine’s Day. Thanks for giving me some ideas on how to cook the pear.
My mind isn’t even on Valentine’s day yet Linda, but you’re right, such a perfect hue!
Perfect for Valentine’s Day, Linda!!
I love this recipe–but more importantly I LOVE this post! I agree, diet is a 4 letter word, and no month should be dessert free!
I thought that was so cute and so true, too, Laura!
Thank you so much, Laura! Makes me so happy to hear!!