pear

Wine-Poached Pears

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Purim is a loud, raucous, festive, hilarious holiday. Although its origins are somber - Haman’s attempt to annihilate the Jews of ancient Persia - it didn’t end so well for him. But it did for us and, in keeping with the victory we celebrate!

It’s been one of the traditions of Purim for adults to, let’s say, make merry by imbibing in more alcohol than usual. In fact, some say, we are told to become intoxicated with wine, based on a statement in the Talmud by Rava, a fourth century rabbi, who said:

”A person is obligated to become intoxicated with wine on Purim until he is so intoxicated that he does not know how to distinguish between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordecai.”

And so, on Purim, count on the fact that wine will be on the menu somewhere.

This year I decided that wine would appear on my dessert menu. I’ll poach some seasonal pears (I prefer comice or bartlett) in a hearty, aromatic wine-based sauce. I’ve made this dessert many times (tastes different each time of course because I use a different wine).

You can make it a day or so ahead; store everything in the fridge. Serve it with the sauce, strained and boiled down to a velvety finish, and maybe a garnish of whipped cream, ice cream or sorbet. Or just by itself.

Wine- Poached Pears

  • 2-1/2 cups red wine

  • 1-1/2 cups water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • peel from one orange

  • 2 2-inch strips of lemon peel

  • 1 cinnamon stick, about 4" long

  • 12 whole allspice

  • 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed (or use 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger)

  • 3-4 pears, preferably comice or bartletts

  •  whipped cream, optional

  • crushed pistachio nuts for garnish (or use toasted coconut or fresh chopped mint), optional

Combine the wine, water, sugar, orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon stick, allspice and cardamom pods in a stainless steel, pyrex, enamel or other non-reactive saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the ingredients for 5-6 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, peel the pears and cut them in half. Remove the core and seeds. When the sauce has simmered for 5 minutes, immerse the pear halves and cook them for about 4-5 minutes or until they are barely tender. Remove the pan from the heat; let the pears cool in the liquid. Remove the pears. Strain the poaching liquid and return the plain liquid to the saucepan. Boil the liquid over high heat for several minutes until it has reduced to a syrupy consistency.  Let the liquid cool. When ready to serve, spoon some of the syrup on dessert plates and top each with a pear half. Serve with whipped cream, if desired, and garnish with a sprinkle of crushed pistachio nuts.

Makes 6-8 servings

Pear Torte

Creative People aren’t usually creative just about one thing. They think in unusual and varied ways about a lot. 
 Like my niece  Rachel , who writes children’s books (such as   Sometimes I’m Bombaloo   and   Justin Case  ) and young adult fiction (such as   Lucky   and   Brilliant  ). 
 She decided she wanted to bake the  Plum Torte  recipe I posted a few months back. But plums aren’t in season now. So she made the cake with pears, and added a little vanilla to the batter, because pears and vanilla, well, it’s a perfect duo. 
 So here’s her recipe. We had this as one of the MANY desserts on Saturday night at her mother and father’s (my brother) annual Hanukkah party. It was DE-LISH! 
 Pear Torte 
 1/2 cup unsalted butter 
 3/4 cup plus one tablespoon sugar 
 1 cup all-purpose flour 
 1 teaspoon baking powder 
 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel 
 1/4 teaspoon salt 
 2 large eggs 
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
 2 ripe pears, unpeeled, cored, sliced 
 lemon juice (about one tablespoon) 
 cinnamon (about 1/4 teaspoon) 
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until creamy and well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon peel and salt and mix briefly to blend ingredients slightly. Add the eggs and vanilla extract beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan. Arrange the pear slices on top, pressing them slightly into the batter. Sprinkle the cake with the remaining tablespoon sugar. Squeeze some lemon juice over the cake and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until browned, set and crispy. Let cool. Makes 8 servings

Creative People aren’t usually creative just about one thing. They think in unusual and varied ways about a lot.

Like my niece Rachel, who writes children’s books (such as Sometimes I’m Bombaloo and Justin Case) and young adult fiction (such as Lucky and Brilliant).

She decided she wanted to bake the Plum Torte recipe I posted a few months back. But plums aren’t in season now. So she made the cake with pears, and added a little vanilla to the batter, because pears and vanilla, well, it’s a perfect duo.

So here’s her recipe. We had this as one of the MANY desserts on Saturday night at her mother and father’s (my brother) annual Hanukkah party. It was DE-LISH!

Pear Torte

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup plus one tablespoon sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ripe pears, unpeeled, cored, sliced

lemon juice (about one tablespoon)

cinnamon (about 1/4 teaspoon)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until creamy and well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, lemon peel and salt and mix briefly to blend ingredients slightly. Add the eggs and vanilla extract beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan. Arrange the pear slices on top, pressing them slightly into the batter. Sprinkle the cake with the remaining tablespoon sugar. Squeeze some lemon juice over the cake and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until browned, set and crispy. Let cool. Makes 8 servings