The thing about winter (if you can even call it that here) is that there is not a large variety of fruits to work with for desserts. In the summer, you’ve got berries for days, but now, you’ve got apples and pears, and more apples, and more pears. Cool.
That said, I can’t hate too much because apples and pears are ripe (hah!) for some Valentine’s Day cookin’. Fun fact: These fruits are actually a part of the rose family, which means that they are scientifically very romantic. Naturally, you must make this recipe for your lovers and friends as soon as possible.
If you’ve ever made poached pears before, you may notice that there is hardly any liquid in this recipe. That is okay – it makes for some delicious spicy wine syrup once everything reduces down.
And let’s not forget about the mascarpone either. This creamy cheese (which I also used in this recipe) makes for the perfect accompaniment to the pears and wine. Quenelle it alongside the pears or just scoop a fat dollop on top cus we all know cheese is the best. And so are poached pears.
Poached Pears with Mascarpone
- Scrape the seeds off of the half vanilla bean and in a heavy-bottomed pan, mix into the wine along with the lemon zest, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil.
- In the meanwhile, peel the pears and cut off a small portion off the bottom so that pears will stand upright on their own.
- Once the wine is boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and add the pears. Cover the pan or pot and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pears at 5-minute intervals so that each side is evenly cooked and covered in wine.
- Remove the pears from the liquid. Cool at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Continue to simmer the liquid for another 10 minutes or so until it is reduced by half. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Before serving, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar with the mascarpone. Place the pears in a serving dish and dollop a tablespoon or two of the mascarpone next to it. Pour the reduced wine liquid over everything and serve.