Fall back on the basics. The fall season brings forth a wealth of richly hued produce that reflects the warmth of the season. Dainty Anjou pears, with their coppery-red skins, attract the fall produce shopper – a Bijouxs Basics awaits – Pears Poached in Wine, sweetly spiced and tender, a simple little jewel of a dessert to fall count on.
Compote is French for “mixture” and generally refers to a dessert originating from 17th century France made of whole or pieces of fruit in a sugar based syrup, sometimes containing wine or liqueurs. Whole fruits are immersed in water and sugar, often infused with spices and cooked over a gentle heat to retain the shape of the fruit. Compotes are heirloom desserts that are elegant, simple, and totally make ahead. The delicate nature of pears makes them especially responsive to a gentle bath in wine and sugar with an infusion of spices.
Select ripe pears, such as Anjou, Comice, or Bosc, the small varieties may be poached whole and larger varieties may be halved. The delicate nature of a pear requires gentle handling both during the peeling process and removal from the poaching liquid.
The color of the wine selected will of course determine the color of the final dessert. Here, pears were poached in a delicate rose wine, which yielded a pale, peach colored liquid and creamy white pears. Choosing a red wine will impart a reddish hue to both the fruit and the poaching liquid – the choice is yours. Select a dry wine, not matter which variety you choose.
Traditional fall spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and star anise gently spice the pears and remain as a beautiful visual clue to the flavors within. A quick bath in the poaching liquid and the pears cool, then refrigerate and serve chilled. A simple delicate wafer cookie served along side makes a perfect pairing.
When the holidays approach, fall back on the basics – Pears Poached in Wine, a simply elegant Bijouxs Basics to remember.