You can enjoy fresh pears all winter long and if available, I choose firm Bosc pears for their attractive shape. They are terrific simply poached in wine, served over ice cream with the warm, wine syrup. But for a special occasion, team them with a rich, creamy chocolate sauce and a pouring custard.
- 6 Bosc pears, firm to the touch, with stems on
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 orange
- 2 cups red wine (such as Strewn Cabernet Merlot)
Using a vegetable peeler, peel a one-inch strip from the bottom of pear; continue by peeling in strips from the base to the top of the pear. Cut a thin slice from the pear base so it stands upright. Use vegetable peeler to remove pear core from the base, leaving pear whole. Rub pear all over with lemon half. Repeat with remaining pears.
Add water and sugar to medium saucepan; heat over medium until sugar dissolves. Using small sharp knife, remove three strips of rind from orange; add to saucepan. Cut orange in half and squeeze juice into saucepan. Lay pears in liquid; pour red wine over. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil; cover saucepan and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes, turning pears in liquid every 10 minutes so that all sides become rosy red.
Remove pears from poaching liquid and place in dish. Remove orange strips and discard. Return saucepan to heat and boil liquid for about 20 minutes, until syrupy and reduced to about 1 cup. Remove from heat; pour into sauce boat and set aside.
To serve, slice pears lengthwise from bottom until nearly through the top; fan over ice cream and pour poaching syrup over top. Repeat with remaining pears. Makes 6 servings.