A fruit dessert is a wonderful and unexpected way to end a meal. This is especially true when it comes at the end of a special occasion dinner, when you already had several courses preceding the dessert.
This year, I wanted to make something different–and perhaps a little lighter–for Valentine’s Day. I was thinking that it had to be fruit that is in season so I decided on these gorgeous pears that I found in the market. Pears poached in Port wine with warm spices and orange zest is a match made in heaven.
This is a strikingly simple and elegant dessert which makes also for a beautiful presentation. Serve them on their own or with some whipped mascarpone or a dollop of crème fraîche on the side. Pour a glass of dessert wine and you will have a celebration dessert to remember!
- 1 cup Ruby Port wine
- 1 cups water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 stick of cinnamon, 2” long
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 star anise pod
- 3 strips orange zest, 2” long
- 1 sm. bay leaf
- 2 whole Anjou or Bartlett pears (firm, but ripe)
- In a 2-qt saucepan combine the Port wine, water, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise pod, orange zest and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5-6 minutes.
- Peel the pears and then carefully core them from the bottom, leaving the stem intact.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and then slip the pears into the syrup. Cover and simmer until the pears are tender, basting them occasionally with the wine sauce. This will take about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the pears and how ripe they are. At this point, a knife should slide into the pears with ease.
- Remove the pears from the sauce and set aside. Discard the spices and check the consistency of the syrup. If your syrup is still thin, reduce it over high heat until it is thickened enough to coat a the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.
- Pour the syrup over the pears, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Let it sit at room temperature before serving.
- Arrange them on a shallow bowl and drizzle with their syrup.
- If desired, you can serve it with some whipped Mascarpone cheese on the side.