Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to make perfect red wine poached pears

Winter's treasure of plump ripe pears get an even rosier blush with a good glug of red wine and a sprinkling of spices. Embarrassingly simple to prepare, these tipsy poached pears with their gluhwein spices were inspired by the delicious Pinot Noir-themed tasting menu I recently had at Haute Cabriere restaurant in Franschhoek. The menu really got me thinking about how versatile red wine is and Haute Cabriere's range of famous Pinot Noir's infused a soft spiciness to these gems. It's a simple low-fat dessert that will leave a lasting impression on the lips (and not the hips!) But if you're after something more decadent, I'll be posting two more delicious recipes during the coming weeks that use the boozy fruit. 

Photography by Angie Lazaro Photography
Red wine poached pears
(Serves 4)

2 cups red wine (see TIPS)
1/3 cup castor sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean,split and seeds scraped
4 ripe pears, peeled

Combine the liquid, sugar and spices in a saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved. 
Add the pears and bring to the boil. 

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a cartouche. 
Poach gently until pears are tender, for about 1 hour. 

Remove the pears. 
Bring the syrup to a boil and reduce until slightly thickened. 
Pour over the pears and allow to cool before refrigerating.

  • Experiment using different liquids such as white or sparkling wine, fruit juice, port or sweet wine, teas such as green, jasmine, earl grey etc.
  • Vary the spices by adding cloves, cardamom, star anise, lemongrass or saffron
  • Core the pears from the underside and pipe in flavoured mascarpone or mousse before serving.
  • Add poached pears to baked puddings, layer into trifles, or serve with French toast or crumpets drizzled with honey for breakfast.

To book for the Pinot Noir tasting menu:
Haute Cabriere
Pass Road, Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa
+27 21 876 8500

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