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Pears Poached in Port with Cranberries

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Here is a recipe for Pears Poached in Port with Cranberries. This dessert is naturally gluten free, can be prepared in advance and has a show-stopping presentation. Accompanied with a cheese tray and served with small glasses of port it is a fabulous dessert choice for a Fall Wine Tasting dinner.

Pears are a beautiful fall fruit that doesn’t travel well and requires a little tender-loving-care. Pears ripen from the inside out so are best purchased under ripe and left to ripen on the counter. Check ripeness by gently pressing the flesh near the stem end of the pear. When it yields to gentle pressure it is ready to eat. When you bite into a luscious, ripe pear and the juice drips down your hand you will know it was worth the wait.

Of course there are different varieties of pears. Most commonly I see Bosc, Bartlett and Anjou pears in the grocery store. Bosc pears have a slightly elongated neck and are ideal for poaching as they keep their shape and do not turn to mush. Bosc pears are also good for eating raw and baking.

This recipe isn’t difficult but if you have never poached pears it may seem a bit intimidating. A Gourmet Club dinner might be the incentive to tackle a new recipe and then result in you learning some “foodie” trivia to share with friends at a dinner party. If you do not belong to a GF Gourmet Club I suggest you start one. You can design your Gourmet Club to be a fun and adventurous way to learn more about gluten free foods, experiment with new recipes and enjoy a safe GF meal. Gourmet does not mean elaborate multi-course menus that keep you in the kitchen all day. It can push you to try something new but it can also be a time to taste test two or three variations of a recipe to determine your ‘best ever’ version of a favourite dish. Design a format and schedule that works with your busy lifestyle and decide what cooking skills or recipes you might like to learn along the way. Most of all, have fun!


8 whole allspice
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
1 strip orange zest (4 inches by 1 inch)
3 cups cranberry juice cocktail
2 cups Tawny Port
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup sugar
4-6 firm-ripe Bosc or Anjou pears with stems


Put all ingredients except pears in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
Peel pears, leaving stems intact, and arrange on sides in poaching liquid. Simmer, uncovered, gently turning from time to time, until tender, 20-30 minutes depending on ripeness.
With a slotted spoon carefully transfer pears to a bowl. Remove allspice by dipping a small strainer into the liquid. Discard. Continue to boil the poaching liquid until reduced to about 1½ cups, about 10 minutes. Discard ginger, cinnamon and zest. Serve pears at room temperature with syrup.


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