Easy, peasy: that’s what this dessert is. It might look a little complicated, but rest assured that it is incredibly simple to make, so do not hesitate, and do not be intimidated. A little bit of work for a beautiful, fancy dessert – what could be better than that?

Spiced Poached Pears With Berry Coulis [Vegan]

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Ingredients

Pears:
  • 4 firm fleshed pears (such as Bosc)
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Cashew cream, for garnish (optional)
Berry Coulis:
  • 4 cups raspberries, strawberries, or a mixture of both
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
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Preparation

To Make the Pears:
  1. Combine the apple cider, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, lemon juice and vanilla extract into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer to allow the flavors to infuse, about five minutes.
  2. Peel the pears. Add them, with more cider (or water), if needed, to cover them. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and poach, uncovered, until soft when pierced with a toothpick, about 30-40 minutes, depending on size. Gently remove the pears from the liquid and set aside to cool.
  3. Raise the heat and boil the syrup until reduced to about 1 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain the solids out, and transfer the syrup to a glass container to store in the fridge for later use (the syrup tastes great added to sparkling water for a special drink, or drizzled over oatmeal or porridge in the morning, for example).
To Make the Coulis:
  1. Add the berries, sweetener (if using) and vanilla to a high-speed blender. Blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mason jar and set aside. If a sweeter taste is desired, mix in some of the cider syrup, to taste.
  2. Drizzle the coulis onto each plate in a circle. Stand a pear upright onto each plate.
  3. Serve immediately.

Notes

The little white dots on the coulis are made from cashew cream – just add a few drops all around the plate, then, using a toothpick, draw a little "tail" into the design. Simple but pretty.

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