Port Wine Poached Pears
Fresh pears, poached in a mixture of port wine, lemon and spices, make a sophisticated, flavorful dessert and a beautiful presentation.
- 6 medium, barely ripe pears (Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc)
- 3-1/2 cups port wine
- 1 cup water
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 6 large strips lemon zest (1/2-inch wide x 2-inches long)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 whole cloves
- Place the port, water, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon peel, cinnamon stick and cloves in a deep saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving the stems on. Using a melon baller or small spoon, carefully hollow out the core and seeds through the bottom. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that they'll stand upright for serving.
- Place the pears in the pan and lower the heat to medium so that the liquid simmers gently. Cook, turning gently and basting every 3 minutes for even flavor and color, until the pears are tender when pierced with a thin knife, 12 to 18 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool for 10 minutes in the liquid.
- Transfer the pears to a platter and continue cooking the poaching liquid until it reduces to the consistency of maple syrup. To serve, make a small pool of syrup on each serving plate, set a pear on top and drizzle with a bit of extra syrup.
The pears can be made ahead and refrigerated. Just bring them to room temperature before serving. You may need to warm the syrup to pouring consistency.