Apples steal the show in New England, and, for some reason, pears fall to the background. Choosing a great apple doesn’t take much practice, but finding that elusive pear whose sweet juices will drip down your chin calls for a little more effort. When rock-hard pears are the only option, poach! They will soften, sweeten, and keep enough of their herbal earthiness to pair perfectly with our Maple Sap Tap Gelato. We make Maple Sap Tap with syrup from Skowhegan and our own maple walnut toffee.
2 cups sugar
2.5 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise pods
10 small pears, peeled, cored, and halved
One or two pints of Maple Sap Tap Gelato*
Place sugar and water in a large pot. Stir briefly to begin dissolving the sugar. Add the pears and spices, turn the stove to medium heat, and cover the pot. Once the sugar dissolves fully and the liquid starts to bubble, lower the heat to a slow simmer. Stir occasionally. Once the pears are slightly opaque and completely softened, remove from the heat. Serve hot with some of the poaching liquid and a scoop of Maple Sap Tap Gelato.
* Maple Sap Tap Gelato is available in select New England grocery and specialty stores that have chosen to carry our specialty flavors; in our take-home freezers in Brunswick and the Old Port; and for nationwide home delivery on FoodyDirect.
– Recipe and styling by Lila Wilmerding. Photograph by Bobby Guerette.