Serves: 4-8 depending on the size of the pears
Preparation time: 60 minutes plus 1-hour cooling time, tastes best if prepared a day ahead
A savoury dessert option for an elegant dinner. This recipe maximises the pears natural sweetness. For added drama I fill the core holes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream using a melon baller as a measure to form the balls.
- juice of 1 lemon in 4 cups (1 L) water
- 4 firm not too ripe Williams pears, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise and cored
- 1 strip of orange peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup (115 g) of sugar
- 3 cups (3/4 L) of red wine
- fresh mint leaves for garnish
Once peeled immerse the pears immediately in acidulated water, i.e. water mixed with the juice of 1 lemon. This avoids oxidation resulting in a discoloring of the pears.
Remove pears from the lemon water and arrange them snuggly together with the cut side down in a large stainless steel pan. Add cinnamon and orange strip tucking them under the pear halves. Sprinkle sugar on top of pears, pour all the wine over them. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15-30 minutes, depending on ripeness of pears. Check if pears are soft after 15 minutes. They should be soft but still holding their shape.
Remove pears from pan using a skimming spoon. Save the cooking liquid. Discard orange peel and cinnamon. Bring liquid to a boil and simmer it gently until it is reduced and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Pour red wine syrup over the pears. Let it cool. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until serving. Tastes best if prepared a day ahead.
Place pears on serving plates, add a bit of the wine syrup, fill the cores with vanilla ice cream and garnish with fresh mint leaves.