Champagne and Cranberry Poached Pears

  • Yield 8 servings

Adding fresh cranberries to the cooking liquid gives them a warm, ruby red color, and using champagne for some of the water adds a celebratory twist.

There are some easy steps to follow when poaching fruit. Most importantly, the cooking liquid must be just sweet enough to taste pleasant without overpowering the delicate fruit flavor. There must also be enough acid in the liquid to counteract the sweetness and help keep the fruit from browning while cooking.

Ingredients

1 quart water
2 cups inexpensive champagne or dry wine
2 cups loose-packed light brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries
2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 medium pears, whole, peeled with stems on
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large, nonreactive saucepan, bring water to a boil with champagne, sugar, cranberries, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add pears and simmer 15 minutes until pears are almost tender. Remove pan from heat and allow pears to cool in liquid 15 minutes before serving. When ready to serve pears, remove from liquid, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds, leaving a small cavity. Serve garnished with a fresh mint sprig.

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