Poaching pears in red wine is considered French in origin but many cultures including Britain have deep cultural ties to this unique cooking method.
The result is a deeply rich flavour, thick tangy sauce, and soft fruit that melts in the mouth when warm.
While there are many versions of this classic British dish, Rick Stein’s easy method is guaranteed to be a hit on National Red Wine Day this August 28.
Sharing his recipe on his BBC Two show, Rick Stein’s Cornwall, the chef claimed that the “elegant and yet simple dish” is one of his “favourite desserts”.
Whether enjoyed as a dessert or sweet tea-time treat, the flavoursome pears make for the perfect Bank Holiday pudding.
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- Eight whole pears, peeled and cored leaving the top stem intact
- One lemon
- One orange
- 750ml red wine
- 200g fresh root ginger
- One cinnamon stick
- Four whole cloves
- Five fennel seeds
- One fresh bay leaf
- One sprig of rosemary
- 500g caster sugar
- 300g frozen blackberries
- Thick custard or ice cream, to serve
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Prepare the fruit by peeling the skin from each pear and zesting one-half of the orange and half of the lemon.
Squeeze the juice from the citrus fruits into a bowl to set aside with the pears, then place a large saucepan over medium heat on the stove.
Pour in the wine, citrus zest, ginger, spices, herbs, sugar, and blackberries and bring it all to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer on low for 10 minutes before straining the mixture into a clean saucepan.
Return the new pan to low heat and add the cinnamon stick, followed by the peeled pears. Leave to simmer for 45 minutes until the pears are tender, turning once to ensure even poaching.
Lift the pears carefully from the liquid and set them aside while the sauce continues to simmer until thick. According to Rick, the volume of the liquid should be reduced by two-thirds before being strained through a fine sieve.
The pears can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature with a generous helping of the sauce poured over them, followed by a scoop of custard or ice cream.
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