California Central Coast Recipes
Poached Pears in Red Wine
When ripe Bosc pears come into season in the Fall, one of the holiday recipes we really look forward to making is Poached Pears in Red Wine.
There are many versions of Poached Pears in Wine in Italian and French cuisine. This particular recipe however evolved over time and also has roots in Colonial California and the North Pacific Coast of Mexico. The main difference is the use of piloncillo (Mexican unrefined brown sugar), vanilla and cinnamon.
What we do a bit differently than most recipes is after poaching the pears, we allow the poached pears to marinate several days in the poaching liquid. This allows the pear to take up the dark red color of the wine and change to beautiful burgundy color. Then before serving, we reduce the poaching liquid to a slightly thickened sauce to serve over the pears.
The cooking times are a bit deceptive since it is done over a couple of days. This is not a fussy recipe, it does not need a lot of attention while cooking. It is good one to have going on the back burner while you a re preparing other fare - holiday or otherwise.
Preparation time: 25 minutesCooking time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
4 medium Ripe but Firm Pears
1 quart Red Wine , use a good quality jug red wine
2 cups Piloncillo or Dark Brown Sugar to taste
1 stick Cinnamon
1 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
1 Peel the pears.
2 In a sauce pan large enough to hold the pears, add the wine, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Place the pan over heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
3 Add the pears to the pan, and a little extra wine as needed to just cover the pears.
4 Bring the wine to gentle boil and cook the pears for 15 to 20 minutes until tender, but still firm and not mushy.
5 When done, place the pears and wine in a air tight container and refrigerate for up to one week. The longer you allow the pears to marinate, the more red they will become.
6 The day you plan to serve the pears, remove the pears from the marinating wine. Place the marinating wine in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 60 minutes, or until the wine has been reduced by half and has the consistency of a syrup. Allow the syrup to cool.
7 When ready to serve, cut the pear in a fan shape and place fanned out on a dish. Cover the pear with the reduced syrup, just enough to pool a bit around the pear. Make a circle of the English Cream around the pear, and serve.
This dish is goes very nicely with practically any late harvest dessert red wine, or even a Port wine. There are enough tannins from the red wine base as well as from the sugar to balance any tannins in the wine.
The main consideration is to be sure that the sweetness of the wine balances the sweetness of the dessert.