Sunday, January 23, 2011

Julia Child's Pears Poached in Red Wine

This recipe is for Mary Beth. I made for dessert last night after a main course of rich lasagne, and she really liked it. I thought that they were delicious, too--cool, refreshing, and, best of all, do ahead. Rather than serve individual plates, I served them in 1 large low dish, so that everyone could help themselves to 1 or 2 (or 3). The pears are from Julia Child's Kitchen. The garnishes were my idea.

For 4

3 or more pears, firm and ripe, but not too ripe (Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc, Comice)
1 qt water with 2 tbl lemon juice in a big bowl

2 cups red wine in a 3 qt pan
The zest of 1 lemon
2 tbl lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick of cinnamon

Peel, halve, and cord the pears, dropping them into the the bowl of water with lemon. Meanwhile, simmer the wine with all othee ingredients for about 5 minutes. Transfer pears to wine mixture and bring just to a simmer. If pears aren't covered by liquid, add more wine or water and sugar; proportions are 6 tbl sugar to 1 cup of liquid. Lower heat and maintain at not quite simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool in syrup at least 20 minutes.

Glaze
Remove the pears and most of the syrup to another container, leaving about a cup of syrup in the pan. Refrigerate the pears. Add a 3 tbl more sugar to the syrup, bring to a boil and reduce until thick. Remove the thickened syrup to another container and refrigerate.

Filling
1/3 cup mascarpone, or cream cheese, softened
grated lemon rind of 1/2 lemon
1-2 tsp sugar or to taste
1/4 tsp vanilla
a little milk or cream if mixture is to thick

Mix all together.

Garnish
Fresh blueberries
chocolate syrup 

To serve place about a teaspoonful or so of the cheese mixture in the hollow of each pear and drizzle with glaze. Serve with fresh blueberries as a garnish. Pass chocolate syrup for people to add if desired..

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