SEVERAL YEARS AGO, when it seemed as though everyone was poaching pears in red wine, I was reminded of Fernand Point’s recipe for prunes poached in red wine and port (see Variation) and was inspired to try pears instead. By poaching in port, which has a certain sweetness, you can eliminate a large quantity of the sugar normally used in poaching fruit. You can use any kind of port, but if you have only a top-quality bottle, you might want to invest in a less-expensive port for use in cooking.
Serve the pears with Madeleines or Almond Tuiles. Any excess poaching liquid remaining after the pears have been served can be refrigerated or frozen for future use in poaching pears.