Pears Poached in Armagnac with Vanilla Ice Cream

From the Wine Enthusiast Pairings Book

Armagnac’s pungent taste makes for a delicious poaching liquid and sauce.


Serve this with an XO Armagnac; recommended producers include Francis Darroze, Chateau de Laubade and Chateau du Busca.

  • 1¼ cups water, preferably still mineral water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, cut in half
  • 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup brown cane sugar
  • 2 cups of VSOP Armagnac
  • 6 pears (11¼ pounds), halved lengthwise and cored
  • Vanilla ice cream, slightly softened, for serving
  • Ginger cookies, for serving

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the water, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, sugar, and Armagnac and cook over medium-heat until the sugar dissolves.

Add the halved pears. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently but gently, until the pears are tender. Remove from the heat; and carefully transfer the pears and sauce to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pear halves to another bowl; remove the stray vanilla bean and cinnamon bits. Strain the remaining liquid over the pears.

Spoon the ice cream into individual serving dishes. Distribute the pears between the dishes. Drizzle the sauce over each and garnish with ginger cookies.

Published on December 18, 2009
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