Pears are beautiful. Apart from all their health benefits, they taste great, they come in beautiful colors, they have a distinctive aroma and mostly an elegant shape. Nevertheless they always seem to come in second place after apples!
Everything is always about apples! Apple pie, apple crumble, apple cider…you name it! Also I haven’t heard of too many mommies who put a pear in their kids’ lunch boxes, have you?  Did you ever come across any “caramel dipped pears” for example? Well ok, you may have seen that one but we all have to acknowledge that it is a far less popular treat than the apple version.  So then why are pears so underrated and underused – at least in comparison to apples? Is it the name “pear”? Does it not sound good enough? Who knows?
All that being said, let’s move on and show pears a little more attention since they so deserve it! Then let me tell you how to make a luscious, most delicious, quick and easy, no-fuss dessert which you can serve quite elegantly with just a few simple touches. Trust me, you will not regret it. It may even become one of your staple dessert recipes, especially during the winter season.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Santa Maria pears
  • 160 -190 gr (about 3/4 or almost 1 cup) caster sugar (or honey, date syrup or other sweetener)
  • 100-150 ml water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 100-150 ml dry red wine (you can use grape juice instead)
To serve you will need:
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
  • Grated bitter chocolate or chocolate chips
  • Toasted slivered almonds or unshelled pistachios

Step by step method

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  1. If you can’t find Santa Maria pears you can use any other type to your preference. The important thing is that they should not be too ripe, and they should be firm and juicy. Wash, peel, cut into two halves and core the pears preferably with a melon ball scoop.

  2. Place water, sugar (or other sweetener), cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt into a large pot with lid. If you want you can add other aromatics to the cooking liquid, like a small piece of vanilla pod, star anise, 1-2 cardamom seeds or cloves. Also you may prefer to use honey, date syrup or any other sweetener of your choice. But if you do so, then make sure you adjust the amount of the sweetener you use according to its degree of sweetness as well as the sweetness or tartness of the type of pear you are using.
  3. Let the cooking liquid simmer for 3-5 minutes (with lid on) then place the pears in the pot. Bring to a boil again, close lid and leave to cook for about 15 mns. The cooking time may be kept shorter or need to be prolonged according to the type of pears you use. You can check your pears with a fork or a sharp thin knife. The cooking time that is realized in the plain syrup should be about half the total cooking time.

  4. At the end of the first half of cooking time, add red wine to the pot and bring to boil again. Now lower heat, close lid and cook further for approximately 15 more mns. In order to get an even color on them, gently flip the pears over halfway through.

  5. Once your pears are cooked you have two choices. You can take them out onto a serving dish to cool and then reduce the remaining liquid by half or until it turns into a thicker syrup. Or you can leave the pears in the cooking liquid to cool, in which case you will have to reheat the syrup after you remove the pears and follow the same procedure for the syrup. Leaving them to cool in the cooking liquid is recommended by some chefs to help the pears gain a darker wine color. But  I always go with the former method because I drizzle the pears with the reduced syrup and they turn a darker color as they cool down anyway.
  6. Once the pears have totally cooled (preferably overnight or at least 5-6 hours in the fridge) you can prepare individual servings using the suggested ingredients listed above or any other ingredients you find appropriate! My personal favorite combination is toasted slivered almonds and vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appétit!