Of all the recipes we tried with our recent shipment of Harry & David Royal Riviera Pears, the simplest and perhaps most satisfying has to be poached pears with chocolate sauce.
Along with the pears, we also had on hand jars of the new flavors of The King’s Cupboard dessert sauces: Bourbon Caramel, Chocolate Crème De Menthe and Chocolate Irish Cream. Voilà!
POACHED PEARS RECIPE
1 bottle fruity red wine, Port or semi-sweet white wine such as Muscat or Riesling (Gallo Muscat is terrific, only $5.00 a bottle, and you can drink it alongside the pears)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4-6 firm pears, peeled and cored with stems intact
Optional garnish: mint leaf, raspberries
Poached pears with chocolate sauce. Photo courtesy The King’s Cupboard.
1. Combine first five ingredients in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to a simmer and add pears to the poaching liquid.
3. Simmer pears for 30 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
4. Remove pears and chill standing upright for several hours or overnight (we keep them in the poaching liquid to infuse more wine flavor).
5. To assemble, place pears on individual serving plates. Warm chocolate sauce in microwave (start with 20 seconds). Spoon sauce over pears. Garnish with mint leaf or berries.
Instead of using chocolate sauce, you can reduce the poaching liquid to one cup, and spoon over the pears. Garnish with crème fraiche, crumbled blue cheese or blue cheese ice cream.
A related dish, Poires Belle-Hélène (in English, Pears Belle-Hélène), combines a poached pear and chocolate sauce with ice cream and slivered almonds.