Spiced Poached Pears, Walnuts and
A stylish salad that makes the most of autumnal pears, and if you’re lucky,
the new season’s wet walnuts, preferably freshly shelled. Make sure the pears
are firm-textured rather than grainy – Conference pears would be good rather
than Williams. If you don’t have any star anise, it’s fine to use vanilla pods on
Serves 6 as a starter or 4 as a light meal
vanilla pods 2, split
star anise 3
lemon juice of 1
walnut pieces a small handful
sheep’s cheese such as Manchego, 75g crumbled
traditional balsamic vinegar
1) Put water and sugar in saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the vanilla pods and star anise. Boil for about 15 mins until bubbles look large and syrupy.
2) While the syrup is bubbling away, peel the pears, slice in half lengthwise and remove the core neatly, using a melon baller if you have one, or a teaspoon. Put the pear halves in bowl with the lemon juice as you work.
3) Arrange pear halves, cut side up, in frying pan large enough to take them in a single layer. Pour in the hot syrup – there should be enough to almost cover them. Add the spices then simmer 10 minutes until pears are just tender. Using a perforated spoon, lift the pears from the syrup and arrange in a serving dish. Fish out the spices if you like, but it’s fine to add them to the pears.
4) Boil syrup until it thickens slightly. Pour into jug and leave to cool down.
5) Spoon a little of the syrup over the pears (keep the rest in a jar for
6) Strew with walnuts and the crumbled cheese. Finish with a dribble of best balsamic vinegar.
Recipe © Christine McFadden November 2020