Steamed Asian Pears with Honey and Jujubes

Asian pears, also called Chinese pears or apple pears, are firm, crunchy,
and surprisingly juicy. Once steamed, with honey and jujubes, the pears
become tender and the broth is soothing and not overly sweet.

SIX SERVINGS

6 nearly ripe Asian pears
2 lemons
6 tablespoons honey
9-10 jujubes (dried red dates) softened in  water and chopped in fourths
pieces of cinnamon bark
1. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that it will stand upright.
Peel the pears and rub the surface with a cut lemon half to prevent them from turning brown. Cut the top squarely off each pear, slicing about 2 inches from the top, and with a melon baller or spoon, carefully remove the core and seeds. Do not cut through to the bottom of the pear. Reserve the tops.
2. Arrange the pears on a pie plate or some kind of a heatproof plate.
Place some of the cut up jujubes into the hollowed out pear and spoon a
tablespoon of the honey into each pear. Arrange a piece of cinnamon in the
hollow with the jujubes. Place the reserved tops on the pears, if necessary securing them with toothpicks. Place the plate in a steamer tray if using.
3. Fill a wok or large pot with enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer tray and bring to a boil. Or create your own steamer by balancing the plate on a tuna fish can (both ends removed) that has been placed in the center of the pot. Cover and steam 40 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife. Serve the Asian pears warm (with ice cream), at room temperature, or cold.

Spiced Pears In Red Wine

Six Servings

Poaching Mixture:
1 bottle red wine ( French or American Merlot)
6 cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
peel of 1 orange
2 sticks cinnamon
2 stars anise*
6 slightly under- ripe Bosc pears
2 lemons, cut in half
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger, for garnish (optional)

  1. Mix the ingredients of the Poaching Mixture in a large, non-aluminum pot. Bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  2. Peel the pears, leaving the stem on. Rub the surface with the cut lemons to prevent them from turning brown. Lower the pears into the poaching liquid and squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered until pears are tender, about 40 to minutes. Test by piercing the pears with a knife. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a bowl.

  3. Strain out the seasonings (orange peel, cinnamon sticks, and star anise) and discard. Pour 3 cups of the cooking liquid into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced. Pour the syrup over the pears. Serve warm or chilled for at least 3 hours with a little syrup. Sprinkle the top with the candied ginger. The pears can be poached 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2008.

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.

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