Ingredients for Pears in Pomegranate Juice:
- 4 ripe bosc pears, with stems intact
- 4 cups pomegranate juice
- 7 green cardamom pods
- 1 bay leaf
- Select a medium pot that will accommodate the pears snugly in an upright position, allowing for the stems to fit with the lid in place.
- Core the pears to remove the seeds, leaving as much of the flesh as possible.
- Peel the pears, leaving the stems attached.
- Trim the bottoms slightly, so they stand up straight. Put them in the pot and add the juice. It’s normal for the pears to turn on their sides and float at first. If you have a large strainer, set it over the pears gently, to keep them submerged.
- Break open the cardamom pods and remove the seeds.
- Crush the seeds to a gritty powder in a mortar, or on a cutting board with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the cardamom seeds to the pot, along with the bay leaf.
- Place the pot over high heat and bring the pomegranate juice to a boil.
- Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, checking occasionally, until the pears are tender. For bosc pears, this may take up to 45 minutes, but for other types, 20 minutes may suffice. To test the pears, insert a paring knife into the thickest part and lift. The pear should slip off easily.
- Using tongs, grasp the pears by the stems and lift them, allowing several seconds for the juice to drain well, and then set them on a plate.
- Increase the heat and return the juice to a boil.
- Cook until the juice is reduced to about 3/4 cup. It should be a fairly dense syrup, thick enough to coat a spoon. If any juice has accumulated around the pears, carefully tip the plate and let it run back into the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and let the syrup cool for about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
- Using a large spoon, drizzle the syrup over the pears. Lift the pears and transfer them to dessert plates. Drizzle again with the syrup, and serve.
Variation: Chop 1 cup raw or toasted pistachios into bits about 1/8-inch thick. Set the pistachios in a coarse strainer and shake to strain out any very fine, powdery bits. Put the chopped pieces in a bowl. After drizzling the pears with syrup, roll them in the pistachios to coat evenly. Set the pears on dessert plates and pour a little of the syrup around them. Serve at once.