A hot bath of spiced red wine gently cooks seasonal pears into a tender, glimmering fruit dessert fit for any crowd.
Baking tip: Testing for doneness
- In desserts using firm fruit, such as pears and apples, insert tip of paring knife into centre of fruit; it should easily yield with little force.
- In cakes and quick breads, a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.
- In brownies and squares, a few damp crumbs clinging to the inserted toothpick is what you’re after.
Get ahead of the game: this entire dessert can be made up to 3 days ahead and served chilled.
1 1/2 cups (350 mL) red wine or apple cider
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
4 whole allspice berries or 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground allspice
4 whole cloves or 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cloves
2 whole star anise
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cardamom
4 Bosc pears, peeled, left whole or halved lengthwise, and cored
1 cup (250 mL) plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp (1 mL) orange flower water or 1 tsp (5 mL) orange zest
1/2 cup (125 mL) raw or roasted chopped walnuts
In large high-sided skillet, bring wine or apple cider, water, allspice, cloves, star anise, and cardamom to a boil. Gently add pears, cut side-down; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Flip pears, cover, and cook for 10 more minutes, until tender. Carefully transfer pears to plate. Bring liquid to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and cook until reduced to 2 Tbsp (30 mL) and syrupy, 3 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
In medium bowl, combine yogurt, honey or maple syrup, and orange flower water or orange zest. Spoon onto dessert plates, top with pears and walnuts, and drizzle with reduced syrup. Serve.