William Verral, on Making ‘Pears Portuguese Fashion, with Currants’

Des poires a la Portugueuse, aux groseilles seches

Take three or four boncretiens, or other good winter pears, pare them, cut them in two, and take out the choke, boil them in water only half an hour, put them into a stewpan, pour in a pint of Port wine, with a lump of fine sugar, a stick of cinnamon, a bit of lemon-peel, a spoonful or two of water, and about five or six ounces of the best dry currants ; let all stew together till your pears are very tender, dish them up, and pour your currants over, but take out the cinnamon and peel.

William Verral, A Complete System of Cookery (1759)

Today we’d most likely call this dish ‘poached pears’ rather than ‘Portuguese Fashion’ and probably just use a pint of red wine or cider instead of the much higher a.b.v. port. But as it’s the season to be extravagant, why not?

I do like the sound of the stewed currants as a sauce over the top as well. I’d also be tempted to try it with soft dried figs, or maybe dates, for a suitably seasonal variation.

How about you? How do you poach your pears? Do let me know, via the comments or as always, if you would like to send in notes and/or photos, then my inbox is open.

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