Port wine-poached pear with brandy, mascarpone, and walnuts recipe


  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. To make the Filling
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.)
  10. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reduced poaching liquid, circling the mascarpone filling. Garnish with a mint leaf, if using, and serve.

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