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Are you ready for another look at some delectable South African food?  Let’s talk about fruit. A little too healthy for you? Okay, let’s talk about fruit as a dessert! Poached pears are at the top of many South African’s favourite foods list, and for good reasons. They’re delicious, and they’re packed with the goodness of vitamin C, K and copper.

Poached pears are a dessert concept from France, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a favourite South African dessert – certainly not!

If you’ve always enjoyed poached pears, you should try rooibos tea poached pears, which are just like traditional poached pears, with a South African twist! This particular dessert is the perfect winter warmer or comfort food. You can cook them reasonably quickly, drizzle them with cream, stew them in spicy wine or even chop them into bits and pieces to throw on top of cereals and yoghurts.

What most people don’t know is that poached pears are astoundingly easy to make. You can prepare them in as little as 5 minutes and then cook them for 30 minutes, and voila, you have the perfect treat. One thing that you should remember if you try making them is that the longer the pears sit in the flavoured syrup after they have been poached, the tastier they will be in the end. As the fruit becomes more tender on standing, they absorb the flavour of any liquid around them.

Enough about that though, let’s jump into an easy-to-follow recipe so that you can whip up one of our favourite South African desserts.

The ultimate Rooibos tea poached pear recipe

The recipe below is easy to create and serves four people.

What you need

  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 rooibos tea bags
  • 4 pears (best to peel and core them)
  • Vanilla ice cream

What to do

  • Pour 6 cups of water into a saucepan and place it on the stovetop on medium heat.
  • As the water starts to heat up, add the sugar and the tea bags. Let the tea boil for a minute or two, and then remove it from the heat.
  • Let the tea infuse into the water by standing for no less than 10 minutes.
  • Remove the teabags from the saucepan – really squeeze them out so that all the flavour is in the water.
  • Return the saucepan to heat (again, medium heat) and bring to a boil.
  • When the tea is boiling, add the pears.
  • Cover the top of the saucepan with baking paper and let the pears cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes. The pears must become tender during this boiling process.
  • Remove the pears from the saucepan and put them to one side.
  • Allow the tea to cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes until it starts forming a syrup.

And that’s it! All that’s left to do is place each pear on a plate, drizzle with syrup and add a spoon of ice cream.

Looking for a poached pears recipe with more of a kick? Some people like to poach their pears in red wine. The effect? A crimson dessert that’s hard to turn down. Want to learn how to make red wine poached pears too? Here’s a quick recipe.

What you need

  • 4 firm pears
  • ¾ bottle of your favourite fruity red wine
  • 70ml of honey
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla paste – you can use vanilla essence too
  • Ice cream

What to do

  • Peel the pears leaving the stalks intact.
  • In a saucepan, heat the wine, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla over medium heat.
  • Stir the liquid to ensure that all the sugar dissolves.
  • Then, add the pears to the saucepan. Try to place them standing upright in the liquid.
  • Poach them by slowly simmering them for 15 to 20 minutes until the pears become tender.
  • Remove the pears from the saucepan and place them on one side.
  • Now, increase the temperature to reduce the wine sauce to a thick and syrupy consistency.

Serve each of these pears similarly to the rooibos tea poached pears. Place them on a plate, spoon syrup over them and add a scoop of ice cream! Ready to eat!

As a side note, if you want to give your poached pears a little extra pizazz, think about adding extra spice to the saucepan when you are poaching the pears.  Star anise, bay leaves, and even cinnamon are popular for adding to poached pears.

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