Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pears Poached in Red Wine

It shouldn't surprise you to learn that I took this recipe from my cookbook A Little Taste of France. This is a traditional recipe the recolection of which came to me like the making of coq au vin or boeuf bourguigon or other such recipes that just come back to me when I'm wondering what to do with left over this and that.

This desert is light, delicious and I'd even venture to say that it's healthy as far as deserts go. I mean it's pears poached in sweet red wine. Nothing bad there. Plus you're eating your fruit. Everybody wins. And alcohol evaporates when cooked so it's a great summer treat for children and adults alike.

Pears in Red Wine

1 tbsp arrowroot (or flour)
1 bottle red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick (I used powdered cinnamon)
6 whole cloves
zest of 1 small orange
zest of 1 small lemon
6 large pears (ripe but still firm)

Mix the arrowroot with 2 tbsp of wine to make a roux and set aside. Heat the remaining wine in a saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange and lemon zest. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved.

Peel the pears, but don't remove the stalks (they make the pear look alot cooler). Put the whole pears in the saucepan of win, cover and poach gently for 25 minutes, or until they are very tender, turning occasionally. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place in a deep serving dish.

Strian the wine to remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and zest, then pour the wine back into the saucepan. Stir in the arrowroot and add to the hot wine. Simmer gently, stirring now and then, until thickened. Pour over the pears and leave to soak until cold.

Serve with cream or creme fraiche or with a small portion of red grapes.

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