Simple to make, simple to serve, brandied pears are a stunning way to end any meal. This is a recipe I dream about all year, but save for the holiday season.
More commonly known as poached pears, this recipe can be made a variety of ways, but Cognac is my favorite. Additionally, these are a nice way to break up the parade of heavy holiday foods with a tart, fruit-based dessert.
Pears are at their best during the winter months, and this sauce will warm you right up, while making your house smell like Christmas Day. If you’ve never cooked with alcohol before, make sure to read carefully, because this recipe can turn from dessert into a homemade bomb real quick.
- 2 Ripe Bartlett Pears
- 1 Cup Cognac
- 1 Cup brown sugar
- Zest & juice of one orange
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Dash of ground clove
Peel the pears and set aside. In a medium saucepan mix the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Boil off the alcohol–it takes about 1 minute on high. Add the pears, cover with lid, and turn heat to medium-low.
[This is the important part! If you don’t boil the alcohol off before covering the pot, you will have alcohol vapor and excessive heat inside of a pressurized container. When you open the lid and introduce oxygen, the entire thing will catch fire, and simultaneously explode. I learned the hard way. I don’t recommend it.]
Every five minutes, open the lid *carefully* and spoon the mixture over the pears, turning them over. After 15 minutes pears should be soft, but test them with a fork to be sure. Remove pears from the pan and set aside.
Turn the heat back up to medium-high, bringing the sauce to a simmer. Cook for about five minutes, until the sauce thickens into a reduction.
To serve: cut brandied pears in half, scoop out the seeds, top with ice cream, and drizzle cognac reduction over the top.