Poached Pears in red wine and Madeira
We do not eat desserts frequently, but a supper with friends needs rounding off with something sweet and in our home, fruity. So I am always on the lookout for something different to add to my tried and tested favourites. A purchase of pears, large and firm, started me off on a search for a new recipe and my limited stock of booze dictated the combination of wine and madeira. They look and taste delicious as they take on the colour and subtle taste of the wines and spices.
- 8 large firm pears, classic pear shape with their stalks.
- 1/3 pint madeira
- 2/3 pint of red wine
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2oz caster sugar
- 1 rounded teaspoonful of arrowroot
Peel the pears leaving the stalk on and taking a slice off the base for them to eventually stand upright on. Place on their sides in a large casserole so that they are not touching each other. Add all the ingredients except the arrowroot and bring to simmering point on the hob.
Put on a lid and poach in the oven for 1 ½ hours at 130°C, (reduce the cooking time if you use smaller pears) turning over at 45 minutes. Check they are cooked with a skewer or sharp knife. Remove to a deep serving dish and stand them upright.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod. Mix the arrowroot with a little cold water to make a smooth milky paste and whisk it into the syrup bringing it to simmering point until it thickens, it will be about the consistency of single cream. Allow the sauce to cool and then pour over the pears and refrigerate. Baste them again before serving to make the pears glisten, perfect with creme fraiche.
I had a lot of sauce left over and the following day mixed with some defrosted raspberries it was beautiful with vanilla ice cream.
Mussels in a white wine sauce