Chinese medicine says that pears are cooling to the body, a good thing if you are going through either chemo or radiation. Poached fruit is also much easier to digest than raw, and safer to eat during treatment. These very simple ginger poached pears make a wonderful dessert, or refreshing breakfast treat when paired with thick Greek yogurt. The pears you use don’t have to be perfectly ripe for this to be delicious — if they’re not, just up the sugar a little. If you like, you can also use honey, but I think it takes away from the taste of the pears. For more chemo friendly dessert recipes take a look at some of these Sweet Treats.
1. Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the cores with a teaspoon. Make sure you cut away the hard remains of the flower at the bottom of the pear. Arrange the pears in a circle inside the pan, cut sides up, thin ends towards the center.
2. Mix the sugar, ginger root and water together in a pan. Bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, pour the liquid and ginger slices over the pears.
3. Bring the pears to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to low, and gently poach until the pears are tender, about half an hour. Paste the pears with the syrup from time to time. About 15 minutes into the cooking, flip the pears over, cut sides down, for even cooking. Check the liquid for sweetness. Add sugar to taste, plus a little more water if the pears look dry. The syrup should be light, not thick and sticky.
4. When the pears are just tender, turn the heat off and, leaving the lid on, let the pears cool in the pan. They will continue cooking and give out more of their juices as they steam.
5. Discard the ginger slices. Arrange the pears on a serving dish, cut side up. Serve chilled or at room temperature with the syrup spooned over the fruit, decorated with crystallized ginger.
You will need a heavy bottomed sauté or poaching pan with a tight-fitting lid.