Hi beautiful friends! We’re in prime Fall produce season and pears are at the top of my list. In my opinion, there are few desserts as sexy as wine-poached pears. I mean, come on! I’ll eat anything poached in wine. Once there’s a chill in the air, I can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle of fruity red wine and experiment in the kitchen. My recipe for Wine-Poached Pear Croustades is so decadent and perfect for fall.
When I say croustades, this could mean anything from bread to pie crust to cake to flakey pastry. For this recipe, I like to go with a slice of my Very Lemony Pound Cake. This buttery cake soaks up all of the silky sauce from the merlot-poached pears. A scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a sprinkle of confectioners sugar help to bring this gorgeous dessert together for the perfect bite.
Wine-poached pears are just about as classic French as you can get! It all started in the wine-growing territories of burgundy and Lyon as a way to eat all of the fruits that hadn’t ripened yet. Not only do the pears get so beautifully tender from poaching, but cooking them in a sweet red wine helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the fruit. As much as I love a juicy ripe pear on its own, I think I love wine-poached pears even more!
You could make this dessert for an intimate dinner party or skip the ice cream and make this seasonal sweet treat a part of your brunch menu instead. If you don’t have time to make your own pound cake, you can buy lemon or plain pound cake for this recipe and I’m sure it’ll be just as delicious. Check out the full recipe below!
- 4½ cups red wine, such as Merlot
- ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- ¾ cup sugar
- 18 whole black peppercorns
- Two 6-by-1-inch strips orange zest (colored part of peel, removed with a zester and minced)
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger with its juices
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 firm but ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears, cored, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1½ water
- 1½ cornstarch
- Six ½ -inch-thick slices Very Lemony Pound Cake, or you can purchase lemon or plain pound cake
- Vanilla or Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, softened slightly
- Confectioners’ sugar
- In a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, stir together the wine, orange juice, sugar, peppercorns, orange zest, ginger, cardamom and bay leaf until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the pears, lower the heat, partially cover the pan and gently simmer the pears, turning them once or twice, until they are just tender ad can be pierced easily with a knife, 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate until cold, at least 5 hours or overnight for convenience.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a plate. Strain the liquid into a small, nonreactive saucepan; discard the solids. Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook the poaching liquid briskly until it is reduced to 1 ½ cups, about 8 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the water and corn starch together and then whisk into the poaching liquid. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
- Lightly toast the pound cake slices and cut them in half diagonally. Thinly slice the pears lengthwise. Arrange 2 pound cake triangles and 1 sliced pear half on each of 6 plates or bowls. Top each with a small scoop of ice cream, drizzle generously with the sauce, and sprinkle confectioners’ sugar over all. Serve immediately.
I hope you’ll all try this fantastic fall dessert at home. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section if you have any ideas or suggestions that would make this recipe even better!
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