This is a super easy and quite impressive dessert!
The hardest part is coring the pear, because you have to core it from the bottom to keep the whole pear in tact. And honestly, it’s not even that hard – just a sharp paring knife run around center bottom of the pear, gradually cutting out the core. No big whoop.
I decided to use some of my favorite spices in the poaching liquid – cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and ginger. Feel free to omit any of those, use your favorite spices, or use whatever you have on hand. Cloves, star anise, honey, or lemon or orange peel would probably also be delicious.
Store-bought puff pastry makes this recipe a cinch. Only 25 minutes to poach the pears and another 25 or so to bake – most of the time spent on this recipe is inactive. Yay for inactivity! I recommend letting the pears steep in the poaching liquid overnight in the refrigerator, but if you’re impatient or short or time, skip the overnight step – the red wine color just won’t be as intense.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and the reduced red wine syrup, with a bit of creme fraiche, or dusted with powdered sugar and a side of whipped cream.
Red Wine Poached Pears in Puff Pastry
makes two pears
2 Bartlett pears, peeled and cored from the bottom
2 cups red wine
1/4 cup sugar
3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and beans scraped out
3 slices fresh ginger (1/4” thick)
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed (all-butter puff pastry if you can find it)
2 tbsp apricot preserves, warmed (optional)
Peel and core pears from the bottom to keep the pear in tact. To core from the bottom, use a sharp paring knife and cut a circle in the bottom center of the pear, gradually cutting out the core.
In a large sauce pan, combine 2 cups of red wine, 3 cups of water, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla beans and vanilla pod and bring to a boil. Add in pears, adding more water if necessary to make sure pears are covered in liquid. Poach, turning occasionally, for 18-25 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the pears. You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork. Let cool in poaching liquid, then refrigerate in poaching liquid overnight.
Remove cooled pears from the poaching liquid. Place liquid in a saucepan and boil to reduce to a syrup-y consistency over medium-high heat, about 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
Prepare the puff pastry by cutting into 1/2” strips. Starting at the bottom, wrap the pastry strip around pear, working your way toward the top. When you get to the end of a pastry strip, moisten the end with a little bit of water and press to seal with new strip of puff pastry, then continue to spiral upward. On the last strip at the top of the pear, tuck the end into the last spiral of pastry.
Preheat oven to 400F. While oven is pre-heating, let pears and puff pastry chill in the refrigerator.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the puff pastry has browned nicely. Remove from oven and brush with warmed apricot preserves to give the pastry a nice sheen, if desired. Serve with red wine reduction.