This dessert is pretty fancy. I would save this recipe for dinner parties, dinner dates or the holidays. Remember you have to make the creme anglaise first. Tip: be sure to used enameled cookware, especially enameled cast iron as the wine may be too acidic if used in an unglazed cast iron skillet. Serves 4
4 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, stems stay attached
1 cup orange juice and a peel or two from an orange
1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 quart creme anglaise
To prepare pears peel, then slice off the bottom end just enough so the pear will stand upright. Core the seeds out from the bottom using a small melon baller.
In your enameled pan that’s large enough to hold the 4 pears, add the wine, orange juice, orange peel, sugar, honey, cinnamon, peppercorns, crushed cardamom pods and vanilla bean paste. Once the sugar has dissolved add the pears and cook gently until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and drain. Strain the poaching liquid and return back to the pan. Simmer until reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Slice the pear half way up and spread out slices (see picture) To serve: pour some creme anglaise on a plate, then place the pear on top and drizzle with some of the wine syrup. Yum Yum!
Chef Ashley in our Sur la Table cooking class added crumbled gingersnaps.