Fruit and wine make for simple, yet complex dessert
What do you get when you pair a pared pear and wine? A wonderfully complex tasting dessert. Spain, France, Greece and Italy all claim this dessert with minor variations. This French version — Poires au Vin Rouge — is very popular. The pears become crimson in the syrup and intensify in color the longer they macerate, so you may want to make this dessert a few days ahead.
Pears in Red Wine
3 cups dry red wine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks (about 2 inches long)
4 whole cloves
1 orange or lemon peel (about 3 inches long)
1 teaspoon fennel or aniseeds
A few peppercorns
2 small bay leaves
6 large, firm pears, peeled and cored from the bottom, leaving the stem intact
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients, except for the pears, and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes, then slip the pears into the syrup, cover and simmer until the pears are tender, about 25 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears from the syrup and place in a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Remove and discard the citrus zest, cinnamon, clove, peppers, seeds and bay leafs from the poaching liquid. If the syrup is thin, reduce it over high heat until thickened enough to coat a spoon, then remove from the heat and let cool.
When the syrup is cold, pour it over the pears. Re-cover and chill for a few hours before serving.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.