Arguably one of the greatest dessert pears, Seckel Pears are super sweet and have hints of cinnamon flavor. Amongst the smallest in the pear family, they are about the size of an egg. Seckel pears are round bodied and have olive green or maroon skin.
One of my favorite ways to serve pears is poached, as warm pears are the perfect compliment to crisp fall weather. Poaching pears (or any fall fruit, really) is a simple way to make a satisfying dessert.
1 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup white wine
4 cups water
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Zest of 1 lemon
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 pound Seckel Pears, peeled leaving the stem intact
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, ground ginger and 1 tablespoon sugar. Spread the sugared walnuts on the baking sheet and toast until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Let the walnuts cool completely before using.
In a large covered pot, bring white wine, water, sugar, ground cardamom, lemon zest, vanilla bean and pulp to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact. Place the pears into the poaching liquid. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and let the pears gently simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.
Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer pears to a serving dish and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Increase the heat to high and reduce poaching liquid to approximately 1 cup of liquid. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the poaching liquid into a heatproof container and refrigerate.
Serve the pears with freshly whipped unsweetened cream, poaching syrup and garnish with crunchy sugared walnuts.