The problem? An abundance of pears and no real desire to eat them raw.
The problem? An abundance of pears and no real desire to eat them raw. The solution? An easy dessert that took 5 minutes of my time and was both elegant enough to serve to company but child-friendly enough to prompt my 6-year-old to demand seconds. And to ask for it again for breakfast the next day. And lunch. I worked no real magic. I simply peeled the pears then used a melon baller to scoop out the core (working up from the bottom). I then poached the pears in a bath of red wine (the remnants of several open bottles), some spices and sugar. That’s it. The pears were beautiful and delicious, and I’d spent all of about 5 minutes making them. For my son, I simply served them as is. I also could have tipped the pears on their side and placed a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the cavity. For company, I scattered some crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts over and around them and added a dollop of creme fraiche. They also can be prepped ahead, then refrigerated. Either briefly warm them in a 300 F oven, or serve them chilled. If you don’t happen to have any bottles of red wine kicking around, opt for something in the $5 to $10 range. Red Wine Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Walnuts Start to finish: 45 minutes (5 minutes active) Servings: 6 6 pears, peeled, stem left intact 750-milliliter bottle red wine 1 cinnamon stick 3 whole cloves 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts 1/3 cup creme fraiche Use a melon baller to carefully scoop out the core of the pears, working from the bottom up. This creates a hollow inside the pear, somewhat resembling a bell. In a medium saucepan, combine the red wine, cinnamon stick, cloves and sugar. Stand the pears upright in the mixture, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, or until the pears are just tender. Occasionally turn the pears to help them poach evenly. The pears can be served warm, room temperature or chilled. Arrange each pear on a serving plate and sprinkle blue cheese and walnuts on and around them. Place a dollop of creme fraiche either on the pear or on the plate next to it. Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 242 calories; 66 calories from fat (25 percent of total calories); 7 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 7 g fiber; 160 mg sodium. Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.