Six seemingly lovely but rock hard pears sat forlornly in the fruit bowl. How could they be transformed into an easy to prepare, delicious dessert?
Look no further than the incomparable Stephanie Alexander’s “The Cook’s Companion”. However I accidentally misread the ingredients and somehow used white wine instead of red. Oops. I wonder how that happened??
Yet the flavours in the finished dish were so satisfying and the caramelised pears were tender and golden in a thick luscious syrup heady with the rich aroma of bay leaves and wintery pear juices.
This is one mistake I am happy to repeat when the results are so delicious.
Preparation 5 minutes
Cooking 20 – 30 minutes depending on the texture of the pears
Serves 2 Wilbur sized dessert appetites or 4 small servings
6 small – medium pears – peeled, quartered and core removed. TIP If pears are not too hard then just peel, halve and core.
30 grams unsalted butter
¼ cup castor sugar
3 fresh bay leaves - just gently crush them slightly in your palm to release aroma
½ - 1 cup White Wine – I used Pinot Grigio.
Use a heavy based frypan with a lid. Pears need to fit in the pan in a single layer.
Gently melt the butter and allow it to foam a little.
When the foaming subsides, add the pear pieces and allow to brown a little.
Turn over in the butter and continue browning
Add the bay leaves and scatter with the sugar, turning the pears as well.
Pour ¼ cup wine over the pears to start. Allow to bubble slightly and move gently so pears do not catch on base of pan.
Cover pan but leave lid just slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.
Reduce heat to low and simmer pears turning as needed
Add another ¼ cup of wine and shake the pan just slightly to mix. Pears should be softening but you want tender pieces of pear not puree.
You may need to add a little more wine to increase the simmering time if pears are still tough.
Continue to simmer until pears are golden, tender and juices are thick and syrupy
Remove from heat and discard the bay leaves.
Serve warm with cream or ice-cream.