Monday, June 10, 2013

Spiced Poached Pears in Red Wine

As we settle into the cooler months and shorter days of winter, I spend more time in my kitchen overlooking the sea just as my mother did all those years ago. This is a special realisation for me knowing that her culinary skills and love for delicious home cooked food have been passed down to me.

Spiced Poached Pears in Red Wine
Serves 6

500 mL (2 cups) dry red wine (I used a pinot noir)
250 mL (1 cup) water
50g raw sugar (3 drops liquid stevia or 1-2 Tbs agave may be substituted)
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
2 star anise
2 cinnamon scrolls
1 vanilla bean, cut lengthways (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
6 Packham pears, peeled

In a deep pan, combine the wine, water and sugar (or sugar substitute) over medium heat, bring to a simmer and grate the zest from your half lemon into the mixture. Squeeze the lemon, being careful not to drop any pips into the wine, then drop the squeezed lemon half into the wine. Add the star anise, cinnamon and vanilla and simmer for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the heat. In the meantime, peel the Packham pears (say that three times quickly!), they don't have to look perfect, the deep burgundy colour will dress them up, and carefully lower the pears into the wine syrup. Poach the pears over low heat until soft (approximately 10-15 minutes), do not simmer. Turn the pears carefully by the stems one or twice and add more liquid if required to cover the pears as they cook. When cooked, carefully remove the pears and place into a heat proof dish. Reduce the syrup, then pour over the pears and allow to cool. You may serve the pears chilled after soaking in the syrup over night but if you prefer a delicately soft, warm spiced pear then serve immediately with your choice of creamy accompaniment, whether it be vanilla bean custard or orange blossom chantilly cream.

Orange Blossom Chantilly Cream
200mL cream
2 drops of organic, gluten free orange blossom water
1-2 tsp caster sugar (I used raw sugar, which I whizzed until fine and powdery in a cup blender)

Whip all ingredients using an electric beater until light, then dollop a generous spoonful over a spiced poach pear in syrup to serve.

This sweet dessert is best served warm with a with dessert wine or in my case, with traditional chai tea.

As I sit here staring at the misty grey sky and charcoal sea through the glass with my warm bowl of spiced poached pears, I recall memories of my mother teaching me how to combine beautiful ingredients to create delicious meals. Blurry rain drops form curved lines that blend and fall against my window and I am comforted by the feeling that comes from knowing that some of our more treasured family traditions will endure over many seasons throughout my lifetime.

Bella xx

1 comment:

  1. Orange Blossom Chantilly Cream! You had me at Spiced Poached Pears. Beautiful recipe. Thank you too Bella for your lovely comments on my blog. xo


Thank you for taking the time to leave your messages. I love reading your words and sharing snippets from our seaside life with you.

Love Bella xx


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