Finally winter has arrived complete with sugar frosted trees, a blanket of snow and temperatures low enough to keep you running to stoke the fire. My mind continues to turn to foods that bring comfort on these winter days. Although February has arrived with long anticipated snow and the days are somewhat longer and lighter, comfort dishes still beckon like a siren calling you to crash on the shore.
Pears figure in often during these comfort seeking days. I'm a huge fan of poaching pears as well as pear cakes and tarts, but I must say that the simplicity of oven baked in red wine till glisteningly caramelized with a luscious gorgeous thick wine sauce underneath that you might find you will want to make a bit more as it is just that tasty. It's a wonderful drizzling sauce to go over ice cream, plain yogurt with bananas or just about anything that strikes your fancy.
Caramelized Pears in Red Wine sauce
Pere Caramellate in salsa al vino rosso
6 Pears, firm variety like Kaiser or Williams, medium sized, if organic you won't need to peel them
100g (1/2 c) sugar, I like to use a granulated organic raw cane sugar, but regular white is fine
350g (1 1/2c) red wine, I use a barbera or dolcetto table wine. It does't need to be an expensive wine
- Wash and pat dry. If you prefer you can peel them, but I found them deliciously rustic with the skins on, although you will get more color contrast when peeled. which may be n ice for serving guests.
- Trim the bottom of the pears so they will sit up straight, peel, if desired.
- You might want to use a ceramic baking dish that you can bring to the table. Lightly butter or oil. I used a metal rectangular pan, lined with baking paper and stood the pears upright.
- Pour the wine over all the surfaces of the pears.
- Sprinkle the sugar over the pears so that the sugar sticks to the tops and sides of the pears. **
- Bake in a preheated oven 400* oven. I have a convection oven and bake at 180*-190*C (350*F) for about 45 minutes. If you have the time you can baste the pears with the sauce every 15 minutes for a deeper color.
- The pears should be soft and the wine sauce thicken and deep rich color.
**Optional spices if you like, but they are quite nice as is.
Do use a simple combination of spices, as too many will over complicate it.
I prefer them without the spices for the pure clean flavor.
Use whole spices so they are easily seen and fished out.
**A few citrus peels, a few pink or black peppercorns, 6 juniper berries, a stick of cinnamon, broken in two, 2 whole cloves, 4 whole allspice, 2 star anise, a few peeled ginger slices.