This time of year, holiday cookies and desserts seem to be the star of the show. Last holiday season, I made some gorgeous Pomegranate Poached Pears simply by poaching pears in pomegranate juice, grape juice and some warm spices. They were such a hit with my kids that I wanted to make more this year. But, somehow I got the idea that poaching the pears in my rice cooker might make it an even easier recipe.
I love my rice cooker and use it almost every day of the week to make rice. A rice cooker is kind of like a slow cooker in the sense that it can be left alone to do its thing, and can keep food warm for a while even after it’s done cooking. This feature is especially appealing to me since I’m often running the kids around just before dinnertime, and want to be able to serve dinner as soon as everyone walks in the door (they are starving by then!).
I’ve been trying to think out of the box lately about how to use my rice cooker. Why not use a rice cooker to make other grains (I know Karina Gluten-Free Goddess has made quinoa in a rice cooker), or cook a meal in it. That’s how this crazy idea of poaching the pears in my rice cooker came about. Cooking the pears in a rice cooker is probably a mix between steaming and poaching. I made Steamed Ginger Peaches and Pears in late summer and they turned out fabulously, so the idea of cooking pears in a rice cooker isn’t so far fetched.
I made a few tweaks to my original poached pear recipe, using apple cider instead of grape juice. I also made some decadently rich Orange Cashew Cream to serve alongside the pears. These Pomegranate Spiced Poached Pears would make an elegant holiday dessert, and even better, they can be made ahead of time.
I served these after dinner the other night to the boys in these martini glasses. They loved the special presentation.
Poached Pomegranate Spiced Pears in a Rice Cooker
- 2 firm pears Anjou or Bosc, peeled, halved, cored
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 2 cups apple cider
- One 3" cinnamon stick
- peel from one clementine
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 star anise
- 3 black cardamon pods
- One 1" piece fresh ginger peeled, cut into thin slivers
- Orange Cashew Cream for serving if desired
Place pomegranate juice, apple cider, cinnamon stick, clementine peel, cloves, star anise, cardamon pods and ginger in rice cooker. Place pear halves in poaching liquid.
Close rice cooker and cook on "white rice" setting for 50 minutes, or until tender (a toothpick should go through easily).
Open cover and turn pears over. Let sit for 1 hour. Turn pears over again and let sit for another hour. You can also refrigerate these overnight for a more intense flavor and color.
Serve with Orange Cashew Cream.
If you like a more intense color and flavor, let pears sit in poaching liquid overnight. Of course, you can also make these on the stove top.