Hibiscus-Ginger Poached Pears
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These luscious, ruby-red poached pears get their flavor from an aromatic blend of hibiscus and ginger instead of the usual red wine. You can refrigerate the finished pears and syrup up to 2 days in advance, making it an excellent make-ahead treat for a special meal.
- 8 medium D’Anjou or Bosc pears, ripe but still very firm
- 6 cups water
- 10 hibiscus tea bags
- 5 strips orange zest removed with a vegetable peeler (each about 3 inches long)
- 1 (3-inch-long) knob fresh ginger, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup brown sugar or granulated sugar
- 8 scoops vanilla ice cream (about 1½ pints)
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
Peel pears and cut in half lengthwise, then use a teaspoon or melon baller to remove cores and blossom end.
In a large pot or saucepan, combine water, tea bags, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to a simmer over high heat, stir and remove from heat. Lower pear halves into liquid (the pears should be mostly covered by liquid; add up to 1 cup more water if necessary). Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover pan and cook at a bare simmer until pears pierce easily with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat, uncover and let pears cool in liquid.
Remove pears from liquid. Strain liquid and discard solids. Return liquid to pot; simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Serve pears room temperature or chilled with scoops of ice cream, reduced poaching liquid and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.