Poached Pear in Red Wine sauce


"Sexy" may not be the first word to come to mind when one thinks of desserts, but this scarlet velvety-smooth pear is with plenty of eye appeal.

To me, it is inextricably tied with romance; the poster of the movies Casablanca came to mind each time I make this dessert. It puts you in a mood for love.

Poached pears in red wine are so succulent and tasty, they're easy to make and also relatively light; it is undoubtedly my favourite dessert!

I just served it to my cell ladies, and they too were wooed by this timeless French classic, it became their favourite too.
"Such a treat", they said.
This striking classic never fails to impress, an elegant finish to any dinner.

I like that this dessert allows me to prepare ahead of time and then simply serve it when I am ready.
Also, the pears are great when made the day before as it gives the flavours plenty of time to develop.
I usually double the recipe as these keep well in the fridge for about a week. Serve cold and eat with vanilla ice-cream is like tango in the mouth.

Select a good quality wine. Over the years I have tried cooking the pears in various red wines and finally found the one I like best - Brown Brothers Cienna (no, I am not paid for this)
Cienna is a light wine with a vibrant ruby red colour; aromas of fresh red berry fruit and a hint of spice which in my opinion goes very well with the pears.
Otherwise, Port wine is good too.

So, if you like to be in the mood for love (or trying to put somebody in the mood for love) have some of these gorgeous looking pears.

You will need:
12 pears
1 bottle of wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
Orange peel from the same orange
Lemon peel from the same lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon stick
2-star anise

1. Select a pot deep enough to hold the pears and wine. Combine all the ingredients and add to the pot and let boil till sugar dissolve, stirring occasionally.

2. Wash and peel the pear, leaving the stem on and cut a thin slice off the bottom of the fruit so it will stand upright when served. (if you are not cooking right away, soak it in water with a teaspoon of salt)

3. Add in pears to pot when sugar dissolved, lower heat to simmer gently. May need to occasionally turn the pear around (especially if pot not deep enough)

4. Simmer for about 25-30 mins or till pear is soft but not mushy. Carefully remove the pears when it is done.

5. Reduce remaining sauce by boiling it for about 8 minutes or until it is thick and syrupy.

6. Serve hot or chilled, with sauce on top and maybe a scope of vanilla ice cream.

Cooks' Note:
1. To make this recipe, choose pears that are ripe but still firm. (get the "ang moh" pears, Chinese pears CMI)
2. Selection of wine is important, get a good quality one.
3. Toppings - try the whipped cream, mascarpone cheese or crème fraîche. I have it with ice cream.
4. Port wine may be used, just reduce the sugar as port is already sweet
5. If you have any balance sauce, save it for your ice cream next time round
6. For non-alcoholic, you may try using grape juice
7.Pears ripen at room temperature. They will ripen faster if placed next to bananas in a fruit bowl.

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