Thursday, September 20, 2018

On the MENU this Week. Ginger Poached Pears in sweet white wine

This uses a Natural Sweet white wine. We used the Natural Sweet White from the Four Cousins range made by Van Loveren in Robertson. It is non vintage. You’ll find it in Checkers for R40 a bottle. While we sometimes enjoy a sticky, sweet wine after dinner, we do like cooking with it too. Lynne came up with the recipe for entertaining friends who will be coming back to our house after a Chinese meal together. The quantity of pears you use depends on two things: the size of the pears and how many people you are serving. A bottle of wine is enough for six pears with some syrup over for serving
4 or 6 nearly ripe firm pears – a bottle of sweet white wine, e.g. Van Loveren Natural Sweet White – a vanilla pod – 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger root – a pinch of salt – a squeeze of lemon if necessary – 1 spoonful of honey - a jar of maraschino cherries
Peel the pears. Remove the stalks, then halve them lengthways and scoop out the cores with a teaspoon. Arrange the pears, cut side up, in a circle inside a heavy bottomed frying pan with a lid, with the stalk end pointing inwards. Peel the ginger (easy to do with a teaspoon) and cut it into thin slices
Add enough of the wine to cover the pears and add the vanilla pod, the ginger slices and a pinch of salt. If your wine is not very sweet, add a dessertspoon or two of honey if necessary. Bring slowly to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer gently for 15 minutes with the lid on. Then, carefully turn the pears over and continue cooking until the pears are just tender – about 15 more minutes. Check your syrup – it should be light, not reduced, and sticky; add more wine if it starts to become too thick. And taste and add more honey if it needs it. Add a dash of lemon if you find it is too sweet – sometimes the pears can add lots of sweetness. The pears will add their own beautiful flavour to the delicate syrup
When the pears are just tender, turn the heat off and, leaving the lid on, let the pears cool in the pan. They will continue cooking and give out more of their juices as they steam
Discard the ginger slices and the vanilla pod. Arrange the pears on a serving dish, cut side up. Put a maraschino cherry in the middle of each and surround them with some of the syrup. Serve chilled or at room temperature, accompanied by more syrup, whipped cream or thick Greek yoghurt

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