Poached Pears in Red Wine French Fruit Dessert Recipe
This poached pears in red wine recipe makes for a simple and light French dessert. You can top the fruit with various ingredients to make the dessert more or less elaborate.
To poach fruit you simply cook it slowly, usually on the stove top, covered in a hot liquid. Most times the liquid is a simple sugar syrup, but it can also be infused with other ingredients as in the recipe here.
Poaching is a great way to showcase flavorful foods that don't need a lot of dolling up. This means that you must start with excellent quality fruit if you want good results.
To make this recipe, choose pears that are ripe but still firm. What usually works best is to buy pears that are still hard and wait until they reach the correct ripeness. Watch them carefully. A pear can turn from being just ripe to over-ripe practically over night.
As for the wine, I've seen both light bodied and full bodied red wines recommended for poaching, so probably either would work. Just be sure to use a good quality wine. It is after all half the recipe!
6 medium sized firm pears (Bosc pears work well for this recipe)
2 cups red wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of nutmeg
Select a sauce pan which just holds all of the pears lying on their sides.
Mix the red wine, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon stick and nutmeg in the sauce pan. Place on medium heat and bring to a very low boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile peel the pears. For a pretty presentation, leave the stem on and cut a thin slice off the bottom of the fruit so it will stand upright when served.
Place the pears in the simmering wine sauce and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the pears are tender but not mushy. Turn them over 1/2 way through cooking time.
Carefully remove the pears when they are done. Reduce remaining sauce by boiling it for about 7 minutes or until until it is thick and syrupy. Place the pears as you are intending to serve them and spoon sauce on top.
Poached pears are perhaps best served at room temperature, but you can keep them in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Spices - Orange peel, cloves, cardamom, star anise, and ginger would all add interesting flavor to this recipe.
Port Wine - You can make this same recipe with port wine, just don't add as much sugar as the wine is sweetened already.
Toppings - Different dairy toppings go well with poached pears. Try whipped cream, mascarpone cheese or crème fraîche.
Non-Alcoholic Version - Follow the above recipe but substitute water for the red wine. Instead of a cinnamon stick, use a vanilla bean.