- Yield: 4 Servings
- One (750-ml) bottle port wine
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and bottoms trimmed
Brandy Mascarpone Filling
- One 4-ounce package mascarpone, softened at room temperature for at least 2 hours
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- 1½ tablespoons brandy
- ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts
- Milk, for thinning the filling, optional
- Mint leaves, for garnish, optional
How to Make It
To poach the Pears
- In a medium saucepan, combine the port, 1½ cups water, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, and then reduce the heat to medium-low so that the poaching liquid simmers. Submerge the pears in the liquid and weight them with a small pan lid to keep them from bobbing to the surface. The liquid should cover them completely if not, add a little more water until it does.
- Poach the pears at a low, gentle simmer until fork tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pears, still submerged and weighted with the pan lid, cool slightly.
- Cover the pan and (with the smaller lid still weighting the pears) refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours, or overnight.
- When the pears have chilled, lift them from the poaching liquid and transfer them to a plate or dish large enough to hold them upright. Cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.
- Bring the poaching liquid back to a boil over high heat and boil for 7 to 8 minutes or until reduced by half. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass container, cover, and refrigerate with the pears for at least 2 hours. To make the Filling
- In a mixing bowl, vigorously whisk together the cheese, honey, brandy, and walnuts. If the cheese is too thick, add milk or water to it, 1 teaspoon at a time. The filling should not be so thin that it slides off the pears.
- Spoon the cheese into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or put it in a sturdy plastic bag and refrigerate for least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.
- To serve, remove the pears from the liquid and set them on a work surface. Pipe the cheese filling into the core of each pear. If you are using a plastic bag, snip away one of the bottom corners of the bag and push on the bag to insert the filling into the pears. (Alternately, thin the mascarpone filling with a little milk and spoon a little on each plate. With the back of the spoon, flatten and spread it out. Set a pear on top.)
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reduced poaching liquid, circling the mascarpone filling. Garnish with a mint leaf, if using, and serve.