I could layer cake and butter cream frosting clear up to the top of the Eiffel Tower and it would never look as impressive as a pear roasted in red wine syrup. I love fruit desserts. And this one in particular for being so easy and elegant.
Pear desserts can often be too sweet and that is where the red wine syrup adds a rich earthy acidic counterpoint. It also helps to caramelize the skin of the pear during baking giving it a stained glass look. This effect turns the fruit from a bottom heavy little squat bell to quite the stunning brightly faceted jewel – pear shaped diamonds are always on my holiday list.
As if homemade diamonds weren't enough reason to make this dish, the practicality of it for entertaining is fabulous. There is no need to peel or core the pears and it can be made ahead of time and kept in a warm place. Simply put the pears in a baking dish, pour the red wine over, sprinkle sugar over pears and wine, bake and baste for 45 minutes. They can stay in a warm oven while dinner is being enjoyed and then served.
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Poires Rôties Avec Syrop de Vin Rouge
Serves 4 people (can be doubled)
4 firm-ripe medium sized Bosc pears or Bartlett
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup sugar
Optional: orange or lemon rind, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, 3-4 cloves, 1 bay leaf
1. Trim the bottoms of the pears so they stand up straight. Put them upright in a shallow baking dish that fits the amount of pears used. Pour wine over pears then sprinkle with half the sugar. The sugar will stick to the pears coating it like snow. If adding spices, place them around the pears in the wine.
2. Bake in oven at 425˚F for 45 minutes. Baste pears with wine syrup and sprinkling with more sugar every fifteen minutes. This will give that stained glass look.
3. They are done when pears are tender and have a reddish brown stained glass appearance.
4. Serve pears whole with syrup poured over and a dollop of vanilla ice cream
Note: I have made this dish in a hurry before where I haven't had the time to sprinkle the pears with sugar every fifteen minutes. If you're pressed for time pour the wine over the pears and then sprinkle on all the sugar. Continue to baste with the wine syrup every fifteen minutes. They will still come out like stained glass just not quite as crackle-y.
1. This dish is easy to make while preparing dinner and can be kept in the oven (turned off, but still warm) until ready to serve for dessert.
2. I prefer Bosc pears because the skin crackles better and the flesh is a little firmer