This is one of those easy recipes that are great for entertaining because the pears turn a gorgeous jewel color when poached, creating a great presentation. You can also prepare this dish completely ahead of time and then simply serve it when you are ready. Here in Umbria, Sagrantino wine is often used to poach the pears, but any full bodied red wine will work well. There are many ways to serve these wonderful pears but I prefer simply poaching them whole and serving them with a little of the sweet spiced reduced syrup. They can also be cooked, then chopped and and served with a little of their syrup over a slice of angel food or pound cake. I have also served these pears with a little syrup along with a scoop of vanilla gelato, or with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone cheese or whipped cream. Choose pears that are not so ripe that they are soft to the touch as they will fall apart when poached. A little under ripe is better than too ripe for this recipe.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 4 Almost Ripe Large Bartlet or Anjou Pears
- 4 Cups Full Bodied Red Wine
- 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Whole Cinnamon Sticks
- Slice Of Lemon Zest
- Carefully peel the pears leaving the stem intact.
- In a saucepan large enough to hold all four pears standing, heat the red wine, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest until it comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and add the pears with stem end up.
- Cover the pot and simmer, spooning some of the poaching liquid over the pears from time to time.
- Cook until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove the pears from the liquid and set them aside for now.
- Remove the cinnamon and lemon zest and bring the poaching liquid back to a boil.
- Continue to boil until it has thickened and is reduced by at least half.
- Serve the pears with a little of the thickened syrup on top, or in any of the options described above.