Thursday, December 19, 2019

Wine poached pear w/ yogurt and honey-glazed walnuts

I have wanted to make this for a loooong time. Mainly because it's one of those dishes that look and sound super fancy when in reality it's surprisingly simple. Just imagine telling people that you made a poached pear with a red wine reduction sauce - feels good doesn't it?

I think I first attempted a poached pear recipe while I was still in culinary school. I remember it tasting pretty good but it wasn't as red in color as I would have liked. This time around, I decided to let the pears soak in the wine overnight after simmering and that was the trick in achieving that beautiful deep red hue - just be sure to plan a day ahead! ...

This dish is also pretty versatile because it can be a dessert or breakfast depending on what you fancy. You can serve the pears chilled or room temperature with whipped cream or, in this case, some vanilla yogurt. The honey walnuts are a fantastic addition, not only do they add some needed texture, I also always make almost double of what I need because I love to have them handy for a snack or to add to salads throughout the week.

Wine poached pear w/ yogurt and honey-glazed walnuts

makes four servings (one pair each)

For the poaching liquid...

4 Bosc pears, peeled ( you want them only slightly ripe and firm to the touch)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large piece of orange peel
8 - 10 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
2 cups of red wine (I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot)
1/2 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract (I used this vanilla bean paste)


1. Place all the ingredients (except pears) in a saucepan. Make sure the saucepan is large enough for the pears to fit snugly in there, with just enough wiggle room for the pears to submerge in the poaching liquid at an angle as well. Bring the red wine to a simmer while stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2. Lower the peeled pears into the poaching liquid and poach in the liquid on medium-low heat (simmering) for 20 - 25 minutes. You will want to rotate the pears every 5 minutes to ensure they poach evenly on all sides, including the tops of the pears.
3. When the pears have been poached, keep them upright in the poaching liquid, and remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the pears to cool down in the poaching liquid (store in fridge overnight for a deep red color).
4. Before serving, remove the pears from the poaching liquid and leave them on a plate, covered with plastic wrap. You can strain the liquid before this next step, but I prefer to keep in the spices as they are easy to avoid when serving. Heat the remaining liquid in the saucepan, and bring it to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes until the liquid thickens slightly into a syrup. The cooking time will depend on how much liquid is left, so keep an eye on it. If the syrup is too thick, add a little water to thin it out.
5. Serve the pears on a serving plate, and brush them a little with the syrup to make the pears look shiny (optional).
Pour a little syrup over individual pears, and serve with some yogurt or whipped cream.

Honey-Glazed Walnuts
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1 TBS butter
3 TBS honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

1. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Melt butter over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Mix in the honey, salt, and cinnamon and then mix in the nuts.
3. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often until coated and toasted.
4. Pour nuts onto the lined baking sheet and quickly separate the nuts using a spatula or fork. Let cool (about 5 minutes) and enjoy!

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