During the festive, season I find that there is an abundance of rich food, the Christmas pudding with brandy butter is not a favourite of mine so I always like to offer an alternative lighter option.
With their juicy flesh and mellow fruity personality, pears take well to slow simmering in flavoursome liquids such as a fruity red wine or pomegranate juice. Lightly sweetened and accented with some aromatic spices such as cinnamon and cardamom, the fruit becomes even more complex in flavour. This is a very simple dessert to add to the Christmas table.
Spiced Poached Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone
- 1 x 750-ml bottle fruity red wine
- 300 g Sugar
- 400 mls Water
- 120 mls Orange Juice
- 2 tsp Orange zest
- 1 rounded teaspoon ground Cardamom freshly ground
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 6 firm Pears peeled, cored, stems left intact
- 150 g Mascarpone
- 1 Tbls icing sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer. Although a little time consuming please take the time to buy the cardamom pods and grind yourself as this will make all the difference to the end result.
- 2. Add the pears and return the mixture and bring back to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer slowly until pears are tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes. Transfer pears to a plate. Boil the liquid in the saucepan reduced by one-third of the original quantity, approximately 20 minutes. Pass the liquor through a fine sieve. (Can be made 1-2 days ahead.) Cover and chill pears in the poaching liquid.
- 3. Combine the mascarpone with the icing sugar and vanilla bean paste. Before serving, warm the pears and poaching liquor over medium-low heat until warmed through.
I find a sharp pairing knife the perfect tool to remove the core of the pears. I used comice as they have a very appealing shape.
*You can replace the wine with pomegranate juice if you’re feeding a younger palette.