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Asian pear cider-poached cherries

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The Nash Orchards barrel fermented Asian pear cider is crisp and clean, with only a faint sweetness. We like all their ciders but this is our favorite one for cooking. It’s a little puckery, full of character. And it goes well with cherries.

This time of year, it may feel silly to poach fresh cherries, when we’ve been waiting all year to eat them. Our kids are eating fistfuls of cherries every afternoon. However, no matter how fast we eat them, some of them can go fast in warm weather. Poach them in some cider and they will keep in the refrigerator for longer.

If you don’t have access to the Nashi Orchards pear cider, you can use your favorite dry apple cider in its place.

One technique to note. Before you poach the cherries, cut out a circle of parchment paper just smaller than your pot. Cut a circle in the middle, which will allow the steam from the simmering liquid to escape. Putting the circle of parchment paper over the top of the cherries will keep them from bobbing up to the surface. This helps them to poach evenly.

Of course, as soon as it’s Asian pear season around here, we’re going back to Nashi for more. I think Asian pear poached Asian pears sounds like a lovely fall treat.

Ingredients

feeds 4
2 pints Asian pear cider (of course, you can use apple cider too)
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup pitted fresh cherries
1/2 cup dried sour cherries
10 leaves fresh basil

Directions

Dissolve the sugar. Set a small pot on medium-high heat. Pour in the cider and sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat down to low.

Poach the cherries. Slide the pitted cherries into the simmering liquid. Put a round of parchment paper with a hole cut in the center on top of the liquid. Poach the cherries until they are starting to be squishy but not falling apart, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Add the dried cherries and basil leaves to the hot liquid. Let the cherries and basil steep for 1/2 hour. Remove the basil. Serve the cherries hot over pound cake or ice cream. Or, let them cool to room temperature and put them in the refrigerator to use whenever you wish.

Feel like playing? You can keep the poaching liquid watery like this, or you could strain the cherries and pour the poaching liquid back into the pot and turn the heat on low. Simmer until the liquid reduces by 1/2 its volume and turns syrupy. Now that is great for ice cream or yogurt.