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Pere al Vino Rosso con Crema Pasticceria

To poach the pears, take three pears and peel them. Slice them in
half lengthwise and core them. Put them in a pot and cover with
2 cups wine. Add about 1/2 cup sugar. For more flavor you can
add the any or all of the following ingredients: 1 stick cinnamon,
6 whole cloves, 1 tsp fennel seed, zest of one orange or lemon.
Bring the wine to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until the
pears are soft but not mushy. Allow the pears and the wine mixture
to cool.

In the top of a double boiler, combine 6 egg yolks, 4 T sugar, and
6 t flour. Whip with a wire whisk until color becomes less yellow
and mixture is smooth. Add 1 cup milk slowly and whip to combine.
Place top over simmering water and stir with a wooden spoon for
about 10 minutes until mixture thickens to a consistency similar
to sauces. You should be able to coat a wooden spoon with it, wipe
a clean line with your finger, and then turn the spoon so gravity
would make the sauce run across the clean line, but the sauce is
thick enough to prevent that. This recipe is much like a creme
anglaise, but should not be as thick. Remove pastry cream from
double boiler and pass through a wire mesh strainer into another

Remove the pears from the wine with a slotted spoon. If you added
spices to the wine, you should strain them out and pour the wine
back into the pan. Place the wine under the highest heat you can
get and reduce it. When you get it to almost a sauce consistency,
mix 1 T cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water in a cup, breaking up
any lumps. Pour this into the wine. Continue reducing until you
get almost the consistency of jam or jelly. At this point, reduce
heat to medium. When the sauce is thick enough, pour it into a
bottle with a thin nozzle similar to the ketchup squirters you see
at hamburger stands. If the sauce is thick enough, it will not
come out of the bottle when turned upside down, but will come out
slowly when you squeeze on it. If it's not thick enough, reduce
it some more.

Take a white dessert plate and spoon about 3 tablespoons of the
white pastry cream into the center. Now hold the plate vertical
and turn it so that the sauce coats the entire center of the plate
without any on the rim. Grab the ketchup squirter with the wine
sauce in it and draw a series of thin horizontal lines across the
plate spaced by 1/4". Using a toothpick, drag it across the plate
perpendicular to the lines, up and down, about 1/4" apart. You
should have a beautiful herringbone pattern much like a decorated
cake. Add a small sprig of fresh mint to the top of the plate.
On a cutting board, place a pear half core side down with the line
of the core perpendicular to you, with the top of the pear away
from you. Using a sharp knife, slice the pear into thin 1/4" vertical
slices. Then use your hand to fan the pear slices. The red of the
outside of the pear will make a pretty contrast to the white of
the inside. Slide your knife under the pear and transfer the pear
to the center of the plate. Repeat to make six plates.

Do all this before dinner, and chill it. When dessert time comes,
just pull them out of the fridge and serve.


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