Alma Mediterranea by Marcia Barrington
by Marcia Barrington

Recipes from the Mediterranean, Middle East & North Africa

Follow Marcia Barrington’s blog to discover new ways to enjoy fresh and exciting ingredients with her Mediterranean inspired recipes.

Amarone poached pears

Amarone poached pears

I had some pears left over from the Christmas table as well as a bottle of just opened Amarone. A gentle poach with the wine, a little sugar, cinnamon and vanilla gives a smashing do-ahead dessert for yourself or the NYE guests who are yet to descend. I say you, as it seems pears are not that popular? Well, not in our house it seems. I love them. Especially when they are prepared like this and served with a good dollop of vanilla bean ice cream. I’ve also just remembered how nice they are with a thick, home made shortbread round spiked with cinnamon. Although we have a biscuit tin stuffed full of crunchy things under our Christmas tree (Yes, we do keep our tree up until the 6 January) so they will do nicely instead.

Serves 4

4 pears (firm to the touch)

1 bottle of red wine

50g Golden caster sugar

A strip or two of pared lemon peel from an un-waxed lemon

1 cinnamon stick

1tsp vanilla bean paste or 1tsp vanilla essence (the proper stuff please)


How to poach pears in red wine

Begin by peeling the pears. If you can, peel in one sweeping movement from top to bottom so the fruit has a smooth, uniform appearance after poaching. (Yes, I have OCD)

Place pears into a saucepan just wide enough to contain the fruit yet deep enough to cover with the red wine.

Add the 50g golden caster sugar, the lemon peel, cinnamon stick and 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste. Give a gentle stir.

Next place a scrunched up piece of baking parchment on top of the pears. Pop a lid on the pan and slowly bring up to boiling point before turning the heat down to its lowest setting.

Allow the pears to poach gently until a little kitchen knife glides easily into the side of the fruit. Depending on the firmness of the fruit this can take anything from 30 minutes to 60minutes plus. The Italian Madernassa cooking pears I used poached for just under the hour.

When cooked cool the pears in the liquor and transfer the whole lot to a glass bowl and store covered in the fridge.

When ready to serve take the pears from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about an hour. You can then reduce the shiny, burgundy liquid by half to drizzle over the fruit and enjoy them with a dollop of ice cream and a crispy biscuit or two.

Do-Ahead: The pears will sit comfortably in their liquid in the fridge for 5 days. Remove from the fridge an hour before you intend to serve them.

Note: With poaching you are looking for the occasional bubble in the saucepan, not a rolling-boil so please be careful.

© Marcia Barrington 2018