More than three years ago, I attempted to recreate one of the first recipes I’d learned in cooking school, but the original recipes was long gone. I had trouble knowing when to stuff the pears, and eventually blogged Best (yet) recipe for red wine-poached pears with no stuffing.
In the years since, I researched enough to feel confident trying it again, and this time, there were no problems. This is a delighful dessert, with an intense red-wine flavor. My previous recipe had the pears served on whipped, sweetened mascarpone, and the mascarpone off-set the intensity of the wine mixture. The stuffing adds more flavors and textures, and the ultimate recipe might be for stuffed pears served on the mascarpone mixture. While I have used walnuts and cranberries in the stuffing, other recipes call for ganache or even chocolate bits inserted into the cavity. Various kinds of nuts could be used, and raisins or dried cherries or apricots. You can be as creative as you like!
Fruit and Nut-stuffed Poached Pears
(Serves 4 to 6)
- 1 bottle Merlot
- 4 to 6 Bosc pears – pears need to be firm, but not too firm
- ½ c. sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- ¾˝ peeled piece of ginger – sliced
- One orange – zested and juiced
- Juice of one lemon
- Put Merlot in saucepan just large enough to hold pears.
- Zest orange and add zest and orange juice to Merlot along with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
- Cut slices off bottom of pears (if necessary) so they will stand straight on the plate.
- Core pears using apple corer and/or melon-baller (parisienne scoop).
- Peel pears – leaving stems intact – and add each one as peeled to poaching liquid to prevent discoloration.
- Once all pears are in liquid, bring to just below simmer stirring gently to help melt the sugar.
- Cover pears with circle of parchment paper ½˝ larger than pan, and weight with small plate to keep pears submerged.
- Poach for approximately 20 minutes – time will vary with size and ripeness of pears.
- When done, it should be possible to pierce the bottom easily with a sharp knife. Once done, let pears cool ten minutes in liquid.
- Remove pears to a glass or ceramic bowl.
- Strain poaching liquid and cover pears with the liquid.
- Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap at least overnight, and up to 3 days. Periodically, rotate pears so they color evenly.
- Before serving, return poaching liquid to pan and boil to reduce until it is syrupy – approximately 30 minutes. After reduction, you should have about 1 c. of syrup.
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup chopped dried cranberries
- 2 Tb. maple syrup
- Mix chopped walnuts, cranberries and maple syrup together.
- Pack gently, but firmly into each pear cavity.
- Put on plate and cover with Saran and refrigerate until about two hours before serving.
- 1 ½ c. mascarpone
- 3 Tb. sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Beat ingredients together until fluffy.
- If you like a more intense vanilla taste, increase the amount of vanilla.
I think these are best served at room temperature, so the pears have to be removed from the refrigerator approximately 2 hours before eating.
If serving without mascarpone, place a pear on the plate, pour a bit of syrup over each pear, and garnish with a sprig of mint.
If you want to use the mascarpone, put a dollop on the plate, place the whole pear on top, spoon wine syrup over top and garnish with mint.