At any point in time I tend to have a random collection of wine sitting on my wine rack. Most of these lone rangers have been gifted, or perhaps caught my eye in the wine isle [we’ve all pick a wine based on a cool bottle at least one time, am I right?], or were from when I played the mystery wine game at a fundraiser [good cause, bad wine]. The rack had gotten a little crowded with these guys, so to make room for the regulars [hello Sauvignon Blanc] I needed to clear out a few of these randoms and find a good use for them. I decided to start with the ones that I knew I probably wouldn’t drink – and Miss Moscato raised her hand first. Moscato, while delicious in its own right, is a little sweet for my palate. Not to mention that bottle had been there for awhile – and a few years back we learned the hard way that contrary to popular belief, not all wines get better with age. Turns out that certain wines, such as my favorite white wine – Sauvignon Blanc, are best drank sooner than later. Sauvignon Blancs that are even just a few years old can taste pretty sour- so I’m always careful to get the most recent release. I’m not sure if Moscato ages this way or not, but regardless, I figured I better find a use for it rather than it just collecting dust in the wine rack.
Given the sweet nature of Moscato wine, I knew using it in a dessert was probably my best option for this baby. After a little searching, I settled on trying something new – a classic, elegant dessert that you really can’t mess up: poached pears. I love using fruit in dessert, namely because I am a terrible baker. I’m never quite sure when the center of a cake is done correctly, and there is just no way to taste test it prior to serving – well, at least not without taking a bite out of the middle of the cake – not cool. There are endless options to use for fruit for dessert [score], many which tend to be pretty easy [double score].
When poaching pears, the classic french recipe is to poach them in red wine, which turns the pears a beautiful crimson color, but really pears can be poached in any number of liquids. I’ve seen them done with other dessert wines, honey water mixtures, or sugar waters infused with flavors of vanilla and lavender just to name a few. The options are pretty much endless, with the goal simply to create a sweet sauce for the pears with delicious flavor of your liking. For my poached pears, I used just three ingredients – wine, honey and water. Peel, pour, boil, simmer and spoon – done. Super easy, elegant, and awesomely delicious. Give them a try – if you love wine and pears, you won’t be disappointed.
Moscato Poached Pears
1 bottle Moscato wine
6 Ripe Red Pears (or other pear suitable for poaching)
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
Mix wine, honey and water in a large pot. Peel the skin off the pears and add to the liquid. Bring liquid to a boil, then continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Spoon the liquid over the pears from time to time while simmering. Remove pears and plate, adding some of the remaining liquid over top of each. Add a drizzle of honey to garnish.
Recipe adapted from: Sweet Paul Magazine