Editor's Note: Weekend Baking Project serves up popular existing recipes from our archives.

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[Photograph: Lauren Weisenthal]

Need a last minute dessert to impress your Valentine? Try these poached pears. They take about 2 hours from start to finish, but most of that time is hands-off, leaving you free to cook the rest of your meal or... snuggle (hey, it's Valentine's Day).

Once the pears have cooked in their lightly spiced syrup, you can serve them however you choose. They make a great bed for vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, or as an accompaniment to a few store-bought cookies (try gingersnaps). Looking to keep things light? Serve them as is, with a glass of dessert wine on the side.

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