Pears are a delicious and healthy fruit best eaten fresh. But every now and then, it’s nice to do something a little special, and Christmas is one of those times.
The pears in the image above were poached in red wine and spices. You can serve them as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, mascarporne cream or vegan cream.
Here’s how to poach pears like those above:
Red wine poached pears
- 4-6 ripe but firm pears (I use Bosc pears)
- 1 bottle of dark fruity red wine
- 1 cup of water
- ½ of one lemon
- ½ cup granulated sugar cane
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 3 cloves
- Ground pepper, to taste
Peel the pears and slice off the bottoms so that they can stand up. Leave the stems on to look pretty.
Put all ingredients (except the pears) into a deep and narrow pot that will fit the pears lying sideways.
Squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture and put the rest of the lemon in.
Bring the wine and spice mixture to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes covered.
Add the pears, placing them sideways, so that they are submerged into the wine mixture.
With lid on, simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. From time to time, gently turn the pears closer to the surface.
When done, the pears should be tender when pierced with a fork. Do not overcook them or else they will be too soft and mushy.
When done, take the pot off the heat. Remove the lid and let the pears cool in the wine mixture. When cool, cover and put the pears and wine in the fridge to marinate for 2-3 days. They will turn dark red. Serve.
Read wine poached pear galettes
If you want to go further, you can make pear pies or pear galettes. Above are the galettes that I made with four poached pears. Spicy and fruity, they’re the perfect Christmas and New Year’s dessert.
They’re easy to make and you don’t even need a pie dish. Instead, just roll out the dough on a piece of floured parchment paper, fill the centre with fruit and flip the edges of the dough on top of the filling. With the parchment paper still underneath, transfer the galettes onto a big cookie sheet and into the oven they go! No matter what shape they take, galettes look good, taste great and hold well.
Read wine poached pear galettes
- 4 ripe but firm pears, peeled (Bosc pears)
- 1 cup whole grain spelt flour and 1 cup all-purpose white flour mixed together (makes 2 cups of flour)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons (tbsp) confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking soda
- ¼ to ½ cup of lukewarm water
- For the glaze: ½ cup of wine mixture taken from the poached pears and add 1 tbsp sugar cane & 1 tbsp liquid honey (or maple syrup)
- To add later: 3 tbsps ground almonds
Heat oven at 200°C / 400°F
Peel, remove stems and slice off the base of the pears.
Slice the pears in half lengthwise and scoop out the cores with a teaspoon.
Proceed to making the wine mixture and poached pears as above.
The half pears should also marinate the same way as above (2-3 days in fridge).
To make the glaze: put the ingredients as indicated above into a small sauce pot. Bring to the boil and then simmer uncovered for twenty minutes stirring often to reduce the liquid. You should obtain a thick syrup. Take off heat and set aside.
To make the dough, put the flour, oil, sugar, cider vinegar and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor.
Process for less than a minute whilst gradually adding water, two tablespoons at a time, until the dough turns moist, smooth and slightly crumbly. Stop and test the dough by pressing it between your hand and fingers. It should stick together and feel soft.
Often the dough (depending on the flour) forms a ball whilst processing, and that’s fine. Just stop there because that means it’s done. Depending on the type of flour you’re working with, add between ¼ to ½ a cup of water.
Scoop the dough out of the processor bowl with your hand. With slightly floured hands, form a ball (you might need to knead it a little, but normally this isn’t necessary).
Slice the dough ball into two parts and place each ball on a piece of floured parchment.
Roll out the dough thin, about 9-10 inches (23-25 cm) in diameter and 1/8-1/4 of an inch (0.32 cm) thick . You can use an inverted bowl for marking and a rounder shape.
Brush the rolled out dough with the glaze syrup and sprinkle ground almonds (about 1½ tbsps) on each bottom, spreading and patting the almonds down with fingertips. Place the sliced pears in the centre leaving a border of about 1½ inches (3.8 cm) or more that you will flip over. You can see in the picture below how I sliced the pear halves and scooped them up.
When the pears are all lined up and placed, flip the dough borders over the pears to close your galettes. With any leftover dough, you can cut out some stars or other shapes with a cookie cutter. Drizzle 1½ tbsps (not more) of the glaze syrup on top of each fruit galette and brush the sides with the glaze. Let the glaze seep through the pears; don’t add too much glaze. Don’t worry if some glaze seeps through the bottom of the dough and onto the parchment paper; it will all cook together in the oven and taste fabulous! Place the extra stars or shapes you made on top of the pie. Pour back any leftover glaze syrup into the wine mixture.
Pick up each galette with the parchment paper underneath and place them side by side on a big cookie sheet.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 18-20 minutes.
Take out and sift tops with a little sugar cane. Allow to cool completely before serving.
And what do you do with all that leftover spicy wine? You heat it up and serve it in a cup as mulled wine. In French we call it vin chaud. In German, it’s Glühwein and in the Nordic countries it’s glögg, gløgg or glögi.
Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël! Happy Holidays! Cheers!
And, these red wine pear galettes, made a few days later, were made with a different kind of red wine, as you can tell by their colour. They are for the Renegade Saints’ Christmas party this evening. Have fun Saints!