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Cooler weather may be upon us, but this is where I love the comfort of desserts. Poached pears can also double up as a topping on cereals for breakfasts and to accompany creamy yoghurts and ice creams.
Poached pears with butterscotch sauce
2 cups white wine (sweet variety or water)
1 cup sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1 star anise
1 vanilla bean, split
2 ripe pears, preferably Bosc or Comice, peeled
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cream
½ tsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine white wine or water, sugar, cinnamon, star anise and vanilla bean, in a deep sided medium saucepan over high; bring to the boil. Reduce heat and add pears. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to bowls. Reduce poaching liquid until thick, about 20 minutes. Discard spices and drizzle over pears.
To make butterscotch sauce
Melt butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, cream and salt and whisk until well blended. Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for about five minutes, whisking occasionally.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract, stirring to combine.
Serve cold or warm; it will thicken as it cools. It can be refrigerated in an airtight container and reheated in a microwave or small saucepan.
• Alison Lambert is one of the demonstrators at the Otago Farmers Market in Dunedin on Saturday mornings.