As the year comes to an end, we start looking forward to those two major holidays and all of the traditional fare that goes along with them. You know, the turkey, dressing, ham, green bean casserole, and the smorgasbord of…DESSERTS. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the traditional desserts of the holidays, but there’s nothing wrong with a little variation! Sometimes we just need a break from the classics, but we don’t have to completely break tradition. Instead, we can simply be creative and think outside of the traditional borders. Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears could be a real game changer. This dish is similar enough to feel familiar, but bold and sophisticated enough to satisfy even the most jaded palate.
4 firm pears (preferably Bartlett or Green Anjou)
1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
½ cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 point of star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 slice of fresh ginger
1. Peel the pears, sparing the stem. Be sure not to bruise them while peeling. Cut a little slice off of the bottoms so that they sit flat in the pot.
2. In a medium to large pot, combine the sugar, zest, spices, and wine. Boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the peeled pears to the liquid, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Make sure to turn them every five minutes to ensure even saturation. After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the flame and let cool.
3. Cover the pot, leaving in the pears, and chill in fridge for about 4 hours. Turn occasionally, if desired.
4. When ready to serve, remove the pears and bring the liquid to a boil until it becomes thick and syrupy. Remove from flame and let cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle each pear with the reduced syrup and serve. For an extra touch, serve with whipped cream, if desired.