POACHED PEARS WITH
SPICED CARAMEL SAUCE
4 juice oranges
1 lemon, halved
8 cups water
6 firm-ripe Anjou pears
1/2 cup sugar
cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 whole clove
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
3 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds or
zest of orange in strips with a vegetable peeler and cut away any white pith
from strips. Squeeze juice from oranges and lemon into a 6-quart pot and add
lemon halves, water, sugar, and zest.
Peel pears, leaving stems attached,
and add to pot. Simmer pears until just tender, and cool in liquid. (Poached
pears will continue to cook a bit as they cool).
sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and crumble brown sugar over. Melt sugars,
undisturbed, over moderate heat until granulated sugar is mostly melted.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork until a deep golden
Carefully pour in cream (mixture will bubble up and caramel will
harden slightly) and stir in clove, cardamon pods, fennel, peppercorns, and
cinnamon sticks. Simmer, stirring until caramel is dissolved and sauce is
reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.
Pour sauce throufg a sieve
and cool to just warm. Assemble dessert: Drain pears and pat dry, then transfer
to plates. Serve drizzled with sauce and sprinkled with chopped nuts.