These pears are poached in red wine, giving them an attractive look and rich, spiced flavour. Serve hot for a comforting cold-weather dessert or chilled on warmer nights.
- 750 ml (3 cups) red wine
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 2 star anise
- 10 juniper berries (see Note), lightly crushed
- 4 (about 800 g) beurre bosc pears, peeled, stems intact
Brown sugar crème anglaise
- 4 egg yolks
- 75 g brown sugar
- 160 ml milk
- 300 ml pouring cream
- 5 juniper berries, lightly crushed
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Start this recipe a day ahead.
Combine the wine, caster sugar, cinnamon, star anise and juniper berries in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, stand pears in the pan, then reduce heat to low. Place a large sheet of baking paper directly on top of the pears, cover with a lid and cook for 1 hour or until pears are tender. Set aside to cool in the liquid.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to high heat and cook the red wine mixture for 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken and becomes glossy. Pour over pears and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight to allow the flavours to develop.
To make the crème anglaise, whisk together the egg yolks and brown sugar. Heat the milk, cream, juniper berries and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Gradually whisk half the cream mixture into egg yolk mixture, then combine with remaining cream mixture in the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain, cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for until cold. Makes 2 cups.
Cut pears in half with stems attached. Divide among plates, spoon over red wine sauce and serve with crème anglaise.
•Juniper berries are from selected supermarkets and delis.
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 10, pg135.
Photography by John Laurie.