Mulled Wine Poached Pear Crisp, Deconstructed

November 30, 2014
Dessert, Winter, Fall, Thanksgiving, Holiday, B-Team Recipes

This recipe is part of a series on classic American desserts. Read all about it and check out the other three recipes here -- and watch Stephanie demonstrate how to make this delicious, impressive dessert.

Serves: 4

1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons granulated pure cane sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar, aka Sugar in the Raw)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Heat the oven to 350°. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugars and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until just chilled, 15 minutes.

2. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until lightly golden brown, shaking the pan once, about 20 minutes. Remove to a baking rack to cool. Don’t worry if it feels a bit soft; as the crisp cools, it will get even crisper.

1 bottle good quality red wine, such as Merlot, Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
½ cup granulated cane sugar
8 whole cloves
3 star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, split
2 strips of orange zest, 3-inches each
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of ½ lemon
4 slightly ripe Bosc or d’Anjou pears, peeled, halved and seeded
Lightly sweetened whipped cream

1. Combine the wine, sugar, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean, orange zest and orange juice and lemon juice in a medium nonreactive high-sided sauté pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture simmer.

2. Place the pears in the mixture, cut-side down, and cook, turning the pears once halfway through the poaching time, until a paring knife or skewer inserted into the center of the pear meets with no resistance, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pears sit in the poaching liquid for 15 minutes. Remove the pears to a plate and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

3. Return the poaching liquid to the stove and cook over high heat until reduced to about 1½ cups, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a strainer into a bowl or pitcher and let cool for 10 minutes.

4. Serve 2 pear halves per person drizzled with some of the mulled wine syrup, sprinkled with the crisp topping, and finished with a dollop of whipped cream.