When the weather is not very friendly, I crave something sweet. And if it contains a little alcohol, it’s just perfect. Just ask the dark chocolate cherry liqueurs I devour in during winter. So now it rains, and it’s windy and cold and I thought I would share one of my favorite French desserts: poached pears in red wine. This recipe also ahs a special ingredient: the cassis liquer. Yum!
- 3 cups not-too-robust red wine, such as a Beaujolais or a Côtes du Luberon
- 1/3 cup mild honey, such as clover
- 1/4 cup crème de cassis liqueur
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup dark or golden raisins
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 firm but ripe pears
- 1/4 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds
1. Combine wine, honey, and crème de cassis in a medium saucepan. Using the tip of a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean halves into wine and add pods. Add cinnamon stick and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with water and add lemon juice. Peel, quarter and core pears and drop into the acidulated water. (This prevents the pears from discoloring.)
3. Drain pears and add to simmering wine. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes more, until pears are slightly translucent. Turn off heat and remove cinnamon stick. Add almonds. Serve warm or chilled.
Variation: For a more intense syrup, remove the pears from the wine and bring back to a boil. Reduce by about a third.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Advance preparation: The poached pears will keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator. The pears will continue to soften.
Recipe and photo via NYTimes0