Friday, October 24, 2008

Poached Pears with Ice Cream

After all those photos of Roman gelato, it just didn't seem fair to all of you who aren't planning a trip to sunny Italy any time in the future. Besides, my niece Keri who is living in Paris for several months, where she really has no reason to complain about the dearth of wonderful desserts, emailed me with the message "You're killing me" after seeing all those photos.
So I'm offering a dessert that I first prepared when we were living in Rome where the pears were enormous. We always seemed to have a bottle of red wine on hand as well, so I combine the two with a little sugar, some lemon rind and a cinnamon stick. It's a dessert you can easily make ahead of time and reheat in the microwave. I also like to serve it at Thanksgiving, for those who want to end their meal with something sweet, but not the heaviness of pies or cakes. Topping it with ice cream is unnecessary, but it's a perfect complement to the warm, cooked pears. Last night, I tried a new flavor from Haagen Dazs called "caramelized pears and toasted pecans." yumm.

Poached Pears in Red Wine

6 Pears
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup sugar
a few shavings of lemon peel
1 cinnamon stick

Peel pears, cut in half and remove core and seeds. Place into a pan with the rest of the ingredients. Let simmer over medium heat covered, about 1/2 hour, or until fork tender. Keep the lid ajar for the last 10 minutes, to help evaporate and thicken some of the liquid. Best served warm -- with ice cream of course.


  1. I love the simplicity of this recipe. It's something you could make on the spur of the moment without a last minute trip to the supermarket. Do the pears have to be perfectly ripe?

  2. Aleta - No, the pears don't have to be perfectly ripe -- in fact, if they're too soft, they will cook up too quickly before the sauce has a chance to emulsify and thicken. But don't use rock hard pears either. The best ones are sort of in between being rock hard and being ripe.