Bosc pears, available through April, become tender yet hold their shape well when poached. A spice-infused syrup gives them a pie-like flavor.
• Zest of 1 lemon, cut into thin strips
• 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
• 3 cups apple cider
• 8 Bosc pears (with stems), peeled and cored from bottom
• Lemon sorbet, for serving (optional)
1. In a large saucepan, combine lemon zest, cinnamon stick, allspice, ground pepper, apple cider, and 1 cup water.
2. Add pears. Cover with waxed paper to prevent discoloring. Bring to a simmer. Cook, turning pears occasionally, until easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Remove pears from liquid; transfer to large bowl.
3. Raise heat to high; boil cider mixture until reduced to a syrup, about 15 minutes. Discard cinnamon. Pour syrup over pears; refrigerate. To serve, slice off a sliver from the bottom of each pear (so it stands upright). Serve pears with lemon sorbet, if desired.