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Wine Poached Pears with Almond Cream and Jelly Leaves

Ingredients

  • For the pears:
  • 1/2 bottle good red wine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 very firm ripe pears, peeled

Instructions

  1. Combine wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks and pears in a pot large enough to accommodate the pears. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. When boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes turning every 5 minutes.
  2. Remove pot from heat and let everything cool to room temperature.
  3. When room temperature remove the pears to a container, cover and refrigerate. Save the cooking liquid for the wine jelly.
  4. Almond Cream
  5. 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  6. 1 tablespoon butter
  7. 1/2 cup whipping cream
  8. 2 tablespoons sugar
  9. 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or Crème Fraîche
  10. 2 egg yolks, beaten
  11. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter then toss in almonds. Stir constantly until almonds are golden. Remove 2 tablespoons almonds and reserve for garnishing.
  12. Remove skillet from heat and add cream, sugar and yogurt. Whisk until well combined.
  13. Return skillet to heat. When it is hot, pour a small stream of the cream mixture into the egg yolks, very slowly so you don't scramble the eggs. After you have added maybe 1/2 of the mixture you can go on and add remainder faster, whisking while you add it in. Cook over low until you have the consistency of melted ice cream. (Or until it has coated the back of a wooden spoon.)
  14. Transfer sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. If this is too thick when you are ready to serve, put in a saucepan and warm while adding a little cream.
  15. Red Wine Jelly
  16. 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin (1/2 oz.)
  17. 1 c. red wine
  18. Poaching liquid from pears
  19. 1/2 c. sugar
  20. In a medium size bowl, dissolve gelatine in wine. Set aside.
  21. Strain poaching liquid into a medium size pot. Stir in sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce until you have 1 cup left. (That is almost what I started with so I skipped that step.)
  22. Pour warm poaching wine into the gelatine/wine combo. Stir until well mixed.
  23. Pour into a shallow container or small tray with sides and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until set.
  24. Cut into even sized cubes a little smaller than the size of a sugar cube.
  25. You can dip the jelly cubes into sugar for an added bit of sparkle if you like.
  26. Serving
  27. Use a small, sharp knife to trim off the bottom of the pear so that it will sit upright when plated.
  28. To achieve Oli’s lovely, fanned out presentation, stand the pear on a cutting board. Use a small, sharp knife to cut from top to bottom. Start the cut about one inch from the top. Do not cut straight down, but curve the cut so that when all of them are completed, the pear will automatically fan out. Cut only half way into the center of the pear. Make slices all around the pear.

Recipe Notes

Note: The first time we made these, the pears had not ripen enough. When I remade them to get a better picture, I allowed them to sit on the counter for a few days to ripen and they cooked much faster.