Sometimes, during the winter months it is a little harder to find desserts that I like and would satisfy all my "winter sweet-needs". First because all my favorite fruits are all out of season, and second because my favorite type of desserts are the creamy ones (like ice cream, panna cotta), but during the winter I feel really cold, so it is not always I am up for very chilly foods. It is usually something warm and comforting I am looking for.
Well, here is an example of how yummy, warm, and comforting winter fruit can get!
Spiced Red Wine-Poached Pears is another of Ellie's recipe and one that I really enjoyed! Nice and ripe pears are first poached in sweet red wine, as they become soft and infused with flavor you take them out of their wine bath and reduce the liquid to a sticky and flavorful syrup, which is then used to embellish your plate and taste buds!
The wine reduction almost look like chocolate syrup, doesn't it?! But its flavors are far more interesting and complex, offering just the perfect sweetness and pairing nicely with the soft cooked pears.
This is the type of dessert I would serve for company: it can be made in advance, looks pretty, is simple to make and the taste... if you like pears and wine flavored desserts, then this one is for you and your guests too!
So, here goes the recipe, and you know what, the syrup is delicious, but I bet this would be really good with some chocolate sauce too, and if served warm... humm, a scoop of ice cream would also probably be welcome, even with the winter cold!
Spiced Red Wine-Poached Pears
(Recipe by Ellie Krieger, from the book The Food You Crave)
2 cups red wine, Cabernet or Merlot
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
Juice of 1 orange (about ½ cup)
One 1 inch strip orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
4 firm, ripe pears
Peel the pears but leave the stem intact. Slice ½ inch of the bottom of the pear, just so it will have a flat bottom and are able to stand up when you plate them.
In a saucepan combine sugar, wine, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Lay the pears in the poaching liquid, cover, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes to ensure that they have an even color.
Transfer the pears to a plate, keeping them upright.
Remove orange zest, cinnamon and cloves from the poaching liquid. Turn heat up to medium-high and reduce the liquid until it is thick and syrupy, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Plate each pear and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the warm syrup.
Note: pears and sauce can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 days and served cold or at room temperature.