This weekend I wanted to come up with something absolutely sensational in the kitchen. However I had some conditions- The ‘something sensational’ had to be incredibly easy, shouldn’t require a long laundry list of ingredients, and should whip up all by itself,while I went about doing my own thing- sip my hot cuppa coffee, catch up on some reading, do my nails, etc etc. While my brain was working up my list of terms and conditions, a vivid image of Chef Parag Kanhere whipping up poached pears in red wine at the Pune Wine festival 7 years ago flashed through! Voila! We women are gifted with a fantastic memory or what!
I quickly scanned through my little diary, where I usually scribble down good recipes, as and when I stumble upon them. So even though I was merry with wine at the festival I had managed to jot down a few steps of the recipe. Thank God! 🙂
Here is how I recreated this scintillating dessert with some guidance from the skeletal recipe in the diary and few of my own tweaks here and there. The result was fabulous and I felt immensely satisfied when I presented it to the family.
- Red Wine – 750 ml- 1 ltr
- Water – 1 cup
- Pears – 4 medium sized pears. Not too ripe though
- Castor Sugar – 75gms
- Nutmeg – 1, shredded
- Cloves – 7-8
- Whole Peppercorns – 5-6
- Whole Star Anise – 3
- Vanilla Beans – 2 split
You could use 2tsps of vanilla essence ,in case you don’t have the beans
10. Vanilla Ice cream – As much as you want 🙂
Before I deep dive into the cooking process, I want to take a minute and give you some important tips about the ingredients
- Make sure you use good quality red wine. Use any brand you like, but don’t compromise on the quality. If you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it.
- Pick the right pears. They should be nice and firm. Don’t pick the ripe or overtly ripe ones, else they will disintegrate during the poaching process.
Now for the actual process:
- Pick a deep bottomed vessel or a pot. I used a pressure cooker, without the lid of course.
- Tip in your wine, the sugar, the spices and the vanilla beans right in.
- Bring this to a boil.
- In the mean while gently peel the pears. Don’t do away with the stems though. The stems add a lot of drama in the end 😉
- Pop in your pears next.
Make sure your pears are completely submerged in the wine. Just in case they are not completely drowned, add a cup of water.
- Let this whole concoction simmer away for around an hour on low heat
- Check your pears with a knife. If they are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon.
(*If after an hour, the pears still seem tough, continue the poaching process till your pears are cooked through. Keep checking though. They shouldn’t disintegrate at all.*)
- Allow them to cool down to room temperature and then chill them in the refrigerator for around 2-3 hours
- In the mean while let the wine concoction simmer away till it reduces to a nice thick syrupy consistency.
- Allow it to cool down to room temperature
- Chill this syrup in the refrigerator for around an hour or so.
In a deep wide bowl first pour some of the chilled wine syrup
Gently keep two chilled pears in the syrup
Serve this with a dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream .
Enjoy the paparazzi while you serve!