Pears Poached in Red Wine with Pear Sorbet

If you can only find jam with seeds in it, strain it before you add it to the marinating liquid. This will ensure a velvety sauce. Melanie Barnard, who originally conceived of this sorbet method, makes it with crème de menthe, but after several experiments, I found that I liked crème de cassis best. It makes the white sorbet a pretty pink color. But either looks beautiful with the deep red of the wine sauce.

Wine recommendation: Try a light, sweet Italian such as Recioto della Valpolicella or Aleatico. Alternatively, a sparkler such as Brachetto d’Asti would also work well. All of these choices will complement rather than overwhelm this pear dessert.

  • For the sorbet:
  • 1 16-ounce can pears in heavy syrup
  • 2 tablespoons crème de cassis or other liqueur
  • For the pears:
  • 1 bottle dry, fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais
  • ½ cup seedless loganberry or blackcurrant jelly
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 firm pears

To make the sorbet: Freeze the pears in their can for at least 12 hours or overnight. Remove the can from the freezer and let stand in a bowl of warm water. Open the top of the can and pour any melted syrup into a food processor, or if you are using a stick blender, into a large bowl. Then open the bottom of the can and push the frozen pears through into the processor or bowl. Chop the frozen pears into chunks small enough for the food processor or stick blender to handle and puree until smooth. Stir in the crème de cassis and transfer to a serving container. Cover and return to the freezer until ready to serve. Serve alone or with poached pears.

To make the pears: Pour the wine, jelly and sugar into a pot large enough to hold all the pears standing up and stir to blend.

Peel the pears, leaving their stems intact. Working from the bottom of the pear with a strong vegetable peeler, remove the core and seeds, so that the pears are whole, but have a hollow cylinder in the center. Place into the wine mixture so that the pears are submerged. Marinate overnight.

The next day, simmer the marinated pears in a pot over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the tip of a sharp knife pierces the pears easily. Carefully transfer the pears to a container and set aside. Continue to heat the marinating liquid until it is reduced in volume by one half, takes on the consistency of syrup, and has no alcohol taste. Remove from the heat and pour over the pears. Set aside. (This dish will keep, refrigerated, for several days.) Serve whole or slice each pear lengthwise and place on a dessert plate. Pour some of the wine sauce over it and spoon a dollop of sorbet over the pears. Serve immediately.

Published on July 6, 2010