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).
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
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)
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!! :)