This week, I’m jumping in my Delorean and going way back in time (probably 15 years ago) with this recipe. Red wine poached pears are one of the very first desserts I ever learned to create before I knew squat about pastry. The recipe I created below tastes like the ultimate decadent, high end dessert that requires low skill to make. To this day, I often use this recipe when I want an easy way to really impress guest, or if I feel like projecting out my fantasy of taking a bath in red wine.
Red wine poached pears alone are super delicious, but because we shoot for the stars here at Twin Leeks, we decide to take it a step further and top them with mascarpone cheese and chopped pistachios. Mascarpone cheese is an Italian cream cheese coagulated with the addition of certain acidic substances, such as lemon juice or vinegar. In this recipe, the mascarpone is really the perfect compliment to the creaminess of the pears and the richness of the red wine. Furthermore, we top with crushed pistachios for texture and added flavor. My favorite gelato flavor of all time is pistachio, so to me that means pistachios and cream are a natural marriage.
Time to get the ingredients together. We need 2 bosc pears, 3/4 bottle of red wine, the peel of one orange, one cinnamon stick and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar. I chose bosc pears for two reasons: they have a firmer texture that would do a better job of holding it’s shape after poaching, and bosc has some very complex sweet and spicy flavors happening. These more assertive flavors would do a better job of standing out against the red wine and cinnamon. As far as booze goes, any kind of dry, fruity red wine will work. Make sure it is something that you would normally like to drink. Here, I used a Malbec from Argentina.
Peel, halve, remove stems, and scoop out the seeds of the pears. Set aside. Combine the red wine, orange peel, cinnamon stick, and sugar in a sauce pan, and bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Make sure there is enough red wine to at least cover half of the pears. Reduce to a simmer, then add the pears. Cook for about 15-20 minutes on each side or until soft. Remove pears and continue to simmer the red wine until a sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon develops. Strain out the orange peel and cinnamon stick. Set aside and let cool.
Place a spoonful of the mascarpone cheese on top of the halved pear. Top with a little additional red wine sauce, chopped pistachios and serve! One of my favorite things about this dessert is that’s it’s not overly sweet and doesn’t leave you feeling like a mess when you’re done eating it. This can be served warm, room temp, or cold. I also think it makes for a nice breakfast it you have any leftovers.
Red Wine Poached Pears
2 bosc pears, peeled, halved, deseeded and stems removed
3/4 bottle of red wine
peel of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
Combine the wine, orange peel, cinnamon stick and sugar, and bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce to a simmer and add the pears. Cook for about 15-20 minutes on each side, or until soft. Remove pears and set aside to cool. Continue to simmer the red wine until it thickens up enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain out the orange and cinnamon stick, and set aside to cool. To serve, top each pear halve with a spoonful of the mascarpone cheese, drizzle on additional red wine sauce if you like, and finish off with the chopped pistachios.