2016

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Poached Pears in Red Wine Sauce–a heavenly dessert!

Pears poached in red wine

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cold water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 firm but ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears (with stems intact)
  • 1 bottle light red wine
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 strip orange rind
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, cut in half
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Fresh-whipped heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, or crème fraiche for serving

Preparation:

  • In a large bowl, combine the water and lemon juice. Peel the pears, keeping the stems intact. Cut a small slice from the base of each pear so the fruit will sit without toppling. Drop each one into the water; set aside. This will keep the pears from browning.
  • In a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears, combine the wine, sugar, orange rind, anise, vanilla, clove, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Take the pears from the water and place them lovingly into the simmering sauce. To keep the pears submerged in the poaching liquid, cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the saucepan and set it on the surface of the liquid. (only in case they float to the top, which will affect their becoming cooked. I haven’t found this to be an issue…)
  • Simmer the pears for 25 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a skewer. They may need 5 to 10 minutes longer if they were not ripe.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow the pears to cool for 15 or so minutes in the poaching liquid. (Once cooled, you can transfer the pears and their liquid to a large container, where they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days).
  • Strain about one-third of the poaching liquid into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Let the mixture bubble steadily until it reduces to a syrupy glaze, with a consistency like thin honey.
  • To serve, place a pear in a shallow bowl and drizzle with the syrup. Add a dollop of the creamy topping.

Note: With their elegant contoured shape, pears are an attractive dessert. Make a poaching liquid from red wine, which lends the flesh of the fruit its deep ruby color, and add orange rind, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, a whole clove, and a star anise for more aroma. After poaching, leave the pears in the liquid overnight (or for a few days), and the fruit will keep getting darker and fuller flavored. Simmer the syrup into a glaze, garnish with whipped cream or mascarpone, and you have an ideal ending to a hearty holiday meal.

Thanks to Wendy Van Wagner of In the Kitchen for this amazing dessert recipe! It's what I am making for my family at Thanksgiving. Yum!

Robin Mallery

Robin Mallery

Robin Mallery is passionate about food! Starting from where and how it's grown, to how far that food travels to the dinner table, to how it is prepared and savored...Robin blends shopping, cooking, and eating tips with her unique Kitchen Zen and mindful meals approach to enjoying real food.

While you are waiting for her to finish the upcoming book, "Kitchen Zen: The Journey to Nourish Body and Soul in Our Changing World", you can find Robin's sporadic blog posts here or on FaceBook.
Robin Mallery

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