I'm pleased to say that the Spiced Wine Poached Pears recipe serves 6 or more very happy guests. And it has a nice make-ahead nature.
This simple, delicious dessert can be prepared with either a sweet, white wine like a late-harvest Riesling, or a full-bodied red like a California Syrah. It's the red wine, though, that gives the spiced pears that extraordinary color.
And there's a little serving trick that will make you look extraordinary as well.
1 bottle sweet white or full-bodied red wine
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Juice and zest of 1 orange
6 ripe (but not overly ripe) Anjou pears
Combine all ingredients but the pears in a medium-large non-reactive saucepan.
Cut one pear in half, remove the core, and peel it. Place it in the saucepan with the spiced wine. Repeat with the other pears. (Working with one at a time prevents any discoloration after peeling.)
The wine should just cover the pears. If not, then add a little more wine or water to cover. Bring the wine mixture to a low boil and simmer the pears until soft when pierced with a toothpick, about 8 or 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the pears and syrup cool together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
There are two ways to serve the pears: Place 1 or 2 pear halves on small plates and fill the cavities with wine sauce. Or, after plating, make 2 or 3 slices lengthwise through the pears, leaving the top quarter uncut, and fan; pour a little wine syrup over the top of the fans.
Makes 6 to 12 servings.
Dinner Menu with the Poached Pears Recipe