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Ruby Roasted Pears
2 cups sugar (or use 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup honey) 3 cups red wine (or use pomegranate juice) 2 cinnamon sticks 4 bay leaves 1 vanilla pod 6-8 just-ripe pears, with stems intact To serve: crème fraîche
© Annabel Langbein Media
Choose a pot that will fit 6-8 pears sitting snugly upright in a single layer. Heat sugar, wine, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and vanilla pod, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Peel pears, leaving them whole with stalks intact. Slice or peel the base of each pear so it will stand upright. Place in the pot with the poaching liquid, arranging the pears so they are covered as much as possible by the syrup. Simmer gently for 30 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally.
Cool pears then place with their syrup in a container, cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days, turning occasionally so that they colour evenly.
Lift pears out of the syrup and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Place the syrup in a pot, bring to a rapid boil and continue cooking until reduced by half – about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves, cinnamon and vanilla pod (you can rinse and dry the vanilla pod and then store it in a sugar container to use again).
When you are ready to serve the pears, preheat oven to 220°C. Baste the pears liberally with syrup, ensuring they are well coated, and roast for 12-15 minutes. Brush with more syrup as they come out of the oven. Place on serving plates, drizzle with a large spoonful of syrup and accompany with crème fraîche.
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