Sunday, December 23, 2018

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears | 紅酒燉洋梨

It's that time of the year again! As the holiday season nears and as temperatures drop, I find myself instinctively craving the scent of warm spices, the comfort of a mug of boozy hot gluhwëin, and some good old Mariah multi-octave jingle. (I like to believe that I am not the only one who has this peculiarly seasonal, recurring hankering. Listening now as I write.)

Add flair and romance to any dinner, be it a special holiday or a regular weeknight!
When it comes to an all-time favorite dessert especially fitting for this time of the year, it's none other than red wine poached pears - a classic French preparation that is not only as elegant as it is delicious, but also reigns as one of the easiest desserts to make. If you are one that has opened bottles of red wine lying around the house, perfect. If you are not, just pop one open (a cheap one will do) and into the saucepan you add some spices and pears - et voilà, in as little as 30 minutes you have a show-stopper of a dessert.

Poached pears can be served warm or chilled and made in advance; and with virtually no room for failure it makes for a terrific dessert choice for your special holiday dinner or any regular weeknight in need of some holiday cheer or a classy, romantic touch. This recipe calls for pears and the mainstays of cold-weather spices: cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, but feel free to experiment with apples, cardamon and even peppercorns. Substitute some of the wine with fresh-squeezed orange juice and try adding some peel for a more citrus-y note. No matter your concoction, the simmering dessert will infuse your kitchen with a heart-warming scent of mulled wine that transports you to the most enchanting, fairy-tale like Christmas markets across Europe.

Dessert can't get any easier than this! Besides, you are sure to have a (almost) guilt-free crowd pleaser. After all, it's just fruit and alcohol, isn't it?

What you'll need...
4 firm ripe Bosc or Conference pears
3 cups red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
2 star anise
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the pears so they can stand upright. Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact.

2. Combine wine, sugar, spices and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer. Add the pears, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes or until the pears are cooked but still firm, turning the pears every 5-10 minutes to ensure even color.

3. If preparing in advance, refrigerate in poaching liquid for up to two days. When ready to serve, remove the pears and spices and boil the poaching liquid until at least reduced by half or, if desired, reduced into a syrup for drizzling. Serve with mascarpone, whipped cream, or vanilla ice-cream. Bon appétit!

【 紅酒燉洋梨 】
啤梨                         4 個
紅酒                         700 毫升
砂糖                         100 克
肉桂枝                    1 枝
丁香                        2 粒
八角                        2 粒
純雲呢拿香油      1 茶匙(可免)

1. 啤梨去皮,切勿切走啤梨蒂啊!用刀於啤梨底部輕輕切平,以確保上碟時能夠直立。
2. 紅酒注入不鏽鋼鍋中,加入肉桂枝、八角、丁香和砂糖,用中火煮至糖溶解。
3. 加入啤梨,轉慢火煮約 25-30 分鐘至軟身,期間每 5-10 分鐘翻動啤梨一次讓其均勻上色。將啤梨取出晾涼。
4. 隔掉香料,用大火將燉紅酒煮至輕微濃稠成紅酒汁。享用啤梨時可拌些紅酒汁,亦可加入忌廉、香草雪糕。


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