Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pears baked in red wine and vanilla

After my wonderfully light & healthy tuna salad for dinner the other night I was left wanting more, can you blame me? So to not entirely spoil my good intentions I steered away from cakes or anything stodgy & instead tried out a new recipe for baked pears. These were sensational, the best I have ever made & maybe even eaten! The red wine sauce goes all sticky, sweet & syrupy which is perfect with the soft juicy pears & tiny dollop of cream on the side. The recipe also comes from Ben O’Donoghue and Curtis Stones’s Surfing the Menu.

Pears baked in red wine and vanilla

4 ripe pears
55g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
2 vanilla pods, split in half lengthways
grated zest of ¼ orange
500ml red wine (Cabernet)
4 tablespoons crème fraiche, cream or ice cream to serve

Preheat oven to 150c.

Wash & dry the pears, then cut a small slice from the bottom so each can stand upright. Smear the butter all over them & sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar.

Mix the remaining sugar with enough eater (1-1/2 tablespoons) to make a paste. Place in a heavy based flameproof pot large enough to hold the pears upright. Heat until the sugar paste turns a light golden color. Add the vanilla pods, zest & half the red wine. Place the pears upright in the pot & transfer to the oven.

Bake, spooning the red wine sauce over the pears at frequent intervals until the pear is soft and the syrup is reduced, about 45 minutes. Add more wine if the liquid reduces too much.

The pear is cooked when the flesh is soft & the outside slightly wrinkled. Remove from the oven & cool in the pot to room temperature. Serve drizzled with syrup & a dollop of crème fraiche, cream or ice cream.

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