Red Wine Poached Pears with Cardamom Whipped Cream
This recipe is elegant, easy and so perfect for fall entertaining. Peeled pears are poached in a complex bath of red wine, spices and aromatics until the fruit is tender and has absorbed all of the flavor to its core. When choosing your wine, consider something with a lot of depth and a deep crimson color like a zinfandel or cabernet. Another reason this recipe is perfect for your next dinner party? The pears are even better if you can make them the night before and let them chill overnight in the red wine. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
- 1 bottle full-bodied dry red wine such as zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large strips orange zest
- 2 small cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean split
- 2 Star anise
- 4 WHOLE CLOVES
- 4 firm-ripe Bosc pears stems intact
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- Chopped toasted pistachios for garnish
- In a large saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, star anise and cloves. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving the stems intact. Slice off the very bottoms of the pears so they can stand up on their own. Add the pears to the poaching liquid and cover with a round of parchment paper (see Note). Simmer the pears over low heat, turning occasionally to ensure even color, until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a bowl.
- Bring poaching liquid to a boil over high heat and cook until reduced by half, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour the reduced syrup over the pears; discard the aromatics or reserve for garnish. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- When you’re ready to serve, and using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the whipped cream with the cardamom over medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can do this in a large bowl with a hand mixer.
- Serve the pears warm, at room temperature or chilled with a generous dollop of the cardamom whipped cream and a sprinkling of pistachios. Pass the red wine syrup at the table.
NOTE: To cut a round piece of parchment, cut out a square of parchment paper slightly bigger than your saucepan. Fold the parchment into quarters, then in half. Fold in half again to form a narrow triangle. Place the narrow point of your triangle in the center of your saucepan, measuring and marking where it reaches the edge of the pot. Using scissors, trim at the mark. Unfold the sheet and you should have a circle that perfectly fits inside your pan. MAKE AHEAD: The pears can be refrigerated in the syrup overnight. Reheat gently or serve at room temperature or chilled.
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