Pears are abundant in the Berkshires in the fall. And there are so many varieties, from Bartlett to Bosc. We love spending the day in an orchard and hand picking our favorites. Pears are typically poached in a simple syrup but we wanted to showcase the natural sweetness of the fruit and make a healthier dessert so there is nothing but a little water and some fragrant whole spices and herbs in this version. If you have leftovers, you can slice the pears thin and add them to salads.
4 firm pears (Bosc recommended), peeled, cored and halved
just enough water to cover the pears
1 vanilla bean
2 cinnamon sticks
4-5 star anise
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
coconut yogurt or whipped coconut milk for garnish
cinnamon for garnish
chopped nuts or toasted unsweetened coconut for garnish
Split the vanilla bean with a paring knife and scrape the seeds out. Add them to a large pot along with the whole vanilla pod
Place pears in the pot with the rest of the ingredients and pour enough water just to cover the ingredients
Simmer covered until you can pierce the pears easily with a knife (10-20 minutes depending on the firmness of the pears so keep an eye on them)
Remove from heat and serve 1/2 pear per person with a dollop of whipped coconut milk or coconut yogurt, cinnamon and chopped nuts. You can also spoon your yogurt or whipped coconut milk in a bowl and sit the pear on top along with some chopped nuts or toasted coconut
Make ahead tip: You can poach the pears ahead and store in the liquid a day or two before serving. Reheat pears in the liquid on the stove before serving.