Pears Poached in Port Wine (Stoofperen)

In the Netherlands, poached pears are often served as a side dish with game. I prefer to serve them as dessert, as the sweetness of the pears makes it difficult to pair a red wine with the game. The type of pears used for this are usually Gieser Wildeman. These pears are stoofperen, pears that are (only) suitable for stewing/poaching. Stoofperen are often poached in red wine, although Gieser Wildeman can also turn red of their own accord when they are cooked.

For my dessert version I’ve used port wine instead of red wine, with added sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. Cooking the pears sous-vide is a good way to save on port wine, as only a bit of porto is needed to surround the pears completely by the port wine. You don’t need a sous-vide cooker to cook pears sous-vide, a stock pot filled with water and a thermometer are enough in terms of equipment. If you don’t own a chamber vacuum sealer, you can use a ziploc bag and the water displacement method to seal the pears.

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The pears can be served warm or at room temperature. The poaching liquid can be reduced to make a nice sauce. This makes for an elegant and tasty dessert, which you could complement with some home-made vanilla ice cream if you like.

Ingredients

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1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of pears

125 ml (1/2 cup) port wine

100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

1 stick cinnamon

2 star anise

3 cloves

Preparation

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Pour the port wine into a saucepan…

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…add the sugar…

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…and the spices.

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Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.

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Now carefully light the alcohol to burn it off. This is important as we will be cooking the pears at a temperature above the boiling point of alcohol, so the bag would burst with the alcohol still in there.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

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Peel the pears but leave the stem on for decorative purposes.

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Transfer the pears with the poaching liquid including the spices to a sous-vide bag and use a chamber vacuum sealer to seal them.

Alternatively, use ziploc pouch and submerge it in cold water, sealing it just before the water enters the pouch.

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The liquid in the bag will start to boil as the boiling point will drop at a lower pressure. Stop the vacuum pump if needed to prevent the pouch from overflowing.

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The port wine will surround the pears.

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Cook sous-vide for 1-2 hours at 88ºC/190ºF. This can be done in a stockpot with water on the stove, just make sure that the temperature stays between 85ºC/185ºF and 90ºC/195ºF.

Regular pears will need only 1 hour, but Gieser Wildeman will require 2 hours to become tender.

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Take the pears out of the pouch and reserve the poaching liquid. Allow to cool to room temperature if you like.

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Transfer the poaching liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

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Lower the heat and allow to reduce. Do not reduce too much, because then the sauce will harden too much when it cools off.

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Serve the pears with a bit of the sauce spooned over each pear.

Flashback


Two years ago I presented a very simple recipe for chicken legs cooked sous-vide and then finished under the broiler to get a crispy skin.

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10 thoughts on “Pears Poached in Port Wine (Stoofperen)

  1. Stefan, This is a beautiful dessert (or a side dish for game, as you mentioned – that is such a great idea). When I first started cooking, I would host dinner parties and often make almost the exact same dish (for dessert), served with a little vanilla bean ice-cream. Here, “stoofperen” or cooking pears are hard to find, so I used a firm pear, such as the Bosc. Pears, spices and a red wine reduction is a beautiful and classic combination. Have a great weekend! – Shanna

  2. Great post, Stefan, and loving the pictures. It looks like you are getting more and more comfortable with the new camera. We love poached pears but I had not considered doing them sous vide. A couple days ago, I made black cod sous vide with a white wine sauce that was heavenly but things were so hectic I didn’t get the finishing photos. :( The sous vide process really does a beautiful job. This will give me another reason to break out the sous vide setup. :)

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