13 August 2011

Poires à l'alcool + poires au vin rouge

It ap-pears — ha ha ha — that all the pears are accounted for now. Yesterday we found quick ways to process the ones that were left after we gave about eight of the really pretty ones to friends over in Saint-Aignan.

Walt found something on the web that said putting pears up in clear brandy — eau de vie, or alcool pour fruits — was easy and quick. That fit the ticket in my book, if I can mix some metaphors. All you have to do is wash the pears well, poke some holes in them with a skewer, pack them in a jar, and pour enough eau de vie over them to cover them. Then add sugar in the proportion of 300 grams per liter of alcohol (same proportions as for light sugar syrup made with water).

Poires à l'eau de vie

No cooking is necessary, and the holes you poke in the pear flesh allows the eau de vie to soak into them. When you open them after a few weeks or months, you can not only eat the pears but also drink the eau de vie as a kind of pear-flavored liqueur. We made the two jars you see in the picture above.

There were still plenty of pears left for Walt to make a nice French-style tarte and for one more classic French preparation — poires au vin rouge. For pears poached in red wine, you use about half a liter of wine, three-fourths of a cup of sugar, and spices to make a poaching liquid. Add some cinnamon or cloves if you like them. Some lemon and/or orange zest is also good. I added some thick wine grape syrup that I made and put up in jars a few years ago, and I added half a cup of some Martin & Rossi red vermouth for those good flavors too.

Peeled pears after a quick poaching in red wine

Very ripe pears need only a brief poaching in the wine mixture. Peel them, but you don't have to core them or even cut off the stem or bottom ends. When the pears are poached, take them out of the liquid and boil it down by a third or a half to thicken it and concentrate its flavor. The pour it over the pears and serve them.

Pears poached and put up in thickened
red wine sauce with lemon zest

Now I'm thinking maybe I will hope for a bounty of pears again next summer. I wonder how old that little tree is. Sometimes fruit trees produce a bumper crop in the year just before the tree dies. This one must be pretty old now, but I think I read that pear trees can live for 200 years or more.


  1. Pears poached in red wine is one of my favourite puds!! Delish !! (And I do have a lot of favourite puds!)

  2. Interesting they call brandy 'eau de vie'.

  3. Wow, 200 years. And some fruit trees only produce for a certain amount of years (like apricots). We had a huge bumper crop with our apples last year and hardly any this year. We'll see if that means the tree is a goner...

  4. Now,when you say "poached", do you mean that they are actually cooked, via the poaching method, over heat, or in the oven? Or is this method something like a marinade that the pears sit in for a while?

    My au pair family made red-wine poached pears once for us, served, as I recall (these many years later!) with a nice dollop of sweetened, whipped, crème fraiche. Yummmy!

  5. The pears poached in red wine are beautiful. I look forward to hearing how the Poires à l'eau de vie turn out. Fascinating info on the age of and aging of pear trees.

  6. p.s. One of my former students sent me this link to a Baguette vending machine for a bakery in Paris and another town... one Euro buys you a crunchy baguette, after hours, freshly baked:

    baguette vending machine story on Yahoo news

  7. Ken

    May be you should try the following next yr


    Just kidding ! :-)

  8. Hi The Beav, hanging those bottles on pear-bearing branches seems like a lot of trouble. But that's how you get the full-grown pear into a narrow-necked bottle. I hope our pear liqueur is as good, or close.

  9. Love your pictures & descriptions - you bring France to life in my imagination! Well done! Donna


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?