Monday, March 3, 2008

Poached Pears

I had made this for a dessert recently. Poached pears are so easy to prepare and are such a showstopping dessert! The color that gets absorbed from simmering them in wine is truly amazing. So, if it's a special occasion or if you want to treat yourself, this is the perfect dessert!

Basically, the idea here is to cook the pears in wine (poach them), flavored with spices and sugar, cool them, and fill them with a creamy, slightly sweet filling. It's light and decadent all in the same bite!


I used mascarpone cheese, which is a really creamy Italian version of cream cheese. If you can't find it, cream cheese would be fine as a substitute. I found the original recipe here from Food Network's website, but made lots of flavor changes. Also, I made this for 2 servings, but you could easily scale up. A full bottle of wine will be enough for 6 servings (6 pears).

Ingredients:

Pears, any firm variety - 2, peeled with stem intact
Red wine - 250 ml (1/3 of a bottle)
Water - 250 ml
Sugar - 1/2 cup, or to taste
Star anise - 2
Cloves - 5
Cardamom - 2
Butter - 2 tsp

For filling:

Mascarpone cheese - 4 oz (1/2 of an 8 oz container)
Cream or milk - 2 tbsp
Confectioner's sugar - 2 tbsp, or to taste
Ground ginger - 1/4 - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Method:

1. Bring water and wine to a simmer in a medium pot. Add star anise, cloves, cardamom, and sugar.

2. Now, add pears and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until tender. You can check if they're done by piercing with a fork or butter knife.

3. Turn the heat off the stove and allow the pears to cool completely in the liquid. At this point, they can be refrigerated until you're ready to fill them. Allowing them to soak in the liquid for at least 24 hours will really deepen the color to an amazing ruby red!

4. When you're ready to fill the pears, remove the cores from the pears using an apple corer or paring knife. Be careful to leave the pear whole!! Keep the poaching liquid as we'll use it soon!

5. Whisk the mascarpone, cream, confectioner's sugar, and ginger (if using) until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag or place in a ziploc bag, force the mixture towards one of the bottom corners, and cut about 1/4 inch off of the bag's corner to make a "poor man's pastry bag".

6. Using your desired bag, fill the pears and keep aside.

7. Now, strain the poaching liquid and place in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Add the butter to the sauce and drizzle the sauce over the pears. Allow to reach room temperature and serve!

Am sending this off to our singing chef, Raaga, who's hosting AFAM this month where the chosen fruit is pear! Enjoy!! :)

32 comments:

Mansi Desai said...

This looks fabulous kalai! I make this every year when pears are in season:) recently I tried plum compote..seasonal fruits are awesome na!

btw, hope you are planning to send in an entry for WBB-balanced Breakfasts that I'm hosting this month!:)

Cham said...

Haha, Poached in wine well deserved treat. Pict looks amazing :)

Asha said...

Mmm...!! Kalai, that looks wonderful. I think you are the first one with a entry of Pears. Good one. I will be next, will post tomorrow at Aroma, will be HOT! ;D

indosungod said...

They do look fantastic. Love the color. I have always seen Jacques Pepin cook this up on his shows and watched amazingly, simple yet so elegant.

Ramya's Mane Adige said...

oh wow!! this one looks so yummy! thanx for sharing...

Uma said...

wow, the pear looks wonderful. So yummy!

Homecooked said...

Wow...this looks sooo good!!! Great entry.I cant think of anything to do with pears :(

bee said...

lovely. wonder how white wine would be in this.

Kalai said...

Mansi, thanks, girl! That's awesome that you do this, too. I'll definitely try to participate in WBB! :)

Cham, thank you! :)

Ashakka, the timing was just perfect for me this time! Looking forward to your post! :)

Indosungod, thank you! Perfect description - simple, yet elegant!

Kalai said...

Ramya, hope you try it out! :)

Uma, thank you, dear! :)

Homecooked, Keep thinking. You never know when something will come to you! :)

Bee, a warm welcome to you! Great idea to try white wine here. Would love to hear how it turns out if you try it! :)

Richa said...

what a beauty!!
as someone wisely said 'Everything tastes good w/ mascarpone'..oh! wait a minute, wasn't it me who said that...;)

Lavanya Raj said...

lovely entry kalai..peach looks so great here..just wanna taste it:)

Pravs said...

Isn't that something ??!! Really nice..want to taste this now !

Rachel said...

Have had them but never got into making them..you make it sound so simple! great!

Jayashree said...

You r spot on about this one being a show stopper.....looks absolutely yum.

Laavanya said...

That looks so elegant and exotic - great entry.

Kalai said...

Richa, that is so true! I guess if it's a special occasion, calories go out the window for one meal... ;)

Lavanya, thanks! :)

Pravs, come on over! :)

Rachel, they really are simple! Hope this inspires you to try making it! :)

Jayashree, color's amazing, right? Thanks! :)

Laavanya, what a beautiful description! :)

Happy cook said...

Yumm I love pears poached in wine they are always so delicious

Archy said...

Wow.. Lovely Pears treat !! Yummy pics !! So nice to watch it.. never tasted it !! Shall try some day :) !!
Thank you dear !!

Namratha said...

This looks gr8 Kalai, ready to dig into!!

I'm still thinking what to do with Pears!

sandhya said...

Fabulous entry... looks very tempting....

Sig said...

Hey looks like great minds think alike Kalai... As soon as I saw Pear as the AFAM choice, I was thinking poached pears too... it is my favorite way of eating pears... mascarpone is a great addition... It looks great!

Rina said...

Love this Kalai... looks yummy.

Dhivya said...

Wonderful entry kalai...looks tempting

Kalai said...

Happy Cook, I love them too! :)

Archana, hope you try it out, girl! :)

Namratha, you've got plenty of time, so don't worry! :)

Sandhya, thank you! :)

Kalai said...

Sig, after my lemon sucking escapade, you're still saying I have a great mind? *laugh* Thanks! Yeah, the mascarpone really takes it over the top! :)

Thanks, Rina! :)

Dhivya, thank you so much! :)

Divya Vikram said...

The dessert really looks appealing Kalai..

Nithu said...

Hey kalai, Thats an amazing dessert. Great one. Looks great...

Sia said...

gorgeous entry kalai. i love poached pears.

Sagari said...

beautifulllllll dessert kalai

Kalai said...

Thank you, Divya! :)

Nithu, thank you, girl! :)

Sia, glad to know that you like poached pears too! :)

Sagari, thank you so much! :)

Raaga said...

My first entry Kalai... it looks so beautiful!! Thank you.