Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pears in Red Wine with Cinnamon and Lemon

Fruit pies are popular during the holiday season in part because winter fruits, like apples and pears are in season and abundant.

Additionally, apples and firm-fleshed pears lend themselves to cooking because their flesh doesn't disintegrate into mush when baked.

Soft summer fruits like peaches, cherries, and red berries, are not in season now. This means if they are available fresh at your grocery store, they've probably been shipped in from a distance (perhaps a hot-house farm in CA) with a winter price tag double that of their summer price.

Some summer fruits are available frozen and or tinned, and if you preserved fruit late last summer, you may well have a stash of bottled peaches, cherries etc. in your pantry.

Bottled, frozen or tinned summer fruits are great accompaniments to winter desserts, like the bottled peaches I used to decorate the baked rice pudding featured yesterday. However, I tend to think preserved summer fruits turn too mushy if cooked into pies.

The three desserts I'm featuring this week include bottled summer peaches as decoration, baked fresh pears (today's dessert), and tomorrow, fresh, out-of-season and thus expensive strawberries -- three different ways to integrate in-season and out-of-season fruit into delectable, holiday-appropriate desserts.

Pears in Red Wine with Cinnamon and Lemon
1) Choose a firm-fleshed pear like Bosc and allow half a pear per person.
2) Peel pears and then cut them in half. You can leave the cores and pips intact.
3) Lay pear halves into a baking dish (pic below).

4) Pour red wine over pears so that they're partially submerged. I used an open bottle of red wine that had been sitting about for a week or so.
5) Sprinkle the pears with soft brown sugar -- about a teaspoon of sugar per pear.
6) Add a couple of whole cinnamon sticks, or a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon, and several whole cloves.
7) Slice the peel from half a lemon (just the peel and not the white pith). Toss the peel into the baking dish.
8) Bake covered in a 350-degree oven for about 45 mins. Each 15 mins, turn the pears, moistening them well with the liquid in the pan.

To Serve: Pears can be served hot or at room temperature. I served them at room temperature having transferred the pears into a serving bowl (pic at top) and left them covered and sitting for a few hours.

I could have poured the liquid from the serving bowl back into a pot and heated it, pouring it back over the pears just before serving, however, I didn't, but this would certainly be an option.

The lemon-spiced whipped cream I mentioned at the bottom of yesterday's post went well with this dessert, as would a vanilla ice-cream.

1 comment:

market to mouth said...

This comment comes from a facebook friend, Mara says:

Surrounded by orchards + vinyards and milder climate, pears are regular holiday desert here. As opposed to oven baking, we prefer poaching 1/2 in red wine, 1/2 in white wine with similar spices & zest.

Arranged on serving dish in alternating color pattern, or baked in such a pattern on puff pastry served as a tart is yum for eyes and tum. Quick and deelish.

Happy Holidays in snowy Colorado, from cold foggy Oregon:)