Pears are one of the favorite fruits of autumn and winter, and when poached in red wine and dressed with a sweetly tart sauce of red raspberries, they make a festive and colorful conclusion to a meal.
Christmas Sweets transforms the holiday table into a winter wonderland! From boxes of homemade candy brimming with Chocolate Fudge or Almond-Butter Toffee to cookie jars filled with Pecan Lace Cookies or Apricot-Pistachio Bars, this collection of recipes and decorations will make gift-giving extra sweet this year. Beautifully illustrated with gorgeous color photography, each festive project celebrates the season and offers inspiring craft ideas using sweets both homemade and store bought. Holiday guests will delight in stealing a treat from a Candy Wreath and getting caught under the Candy Acorn Kissing Ball. With homemade gingerbread confections presented in a spectacular, wintry Gingerbread Cookie Box, Santa will never settle for cookies again.© 2013 Georgeanne Brennan / Chronicle Books · Reproduced with permission.
In a large saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and vanilla bean. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until the liquid is slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and add the pear halves. Poach them for 7 to 8 minutes, or until they are tender but still hold their shape. Remove from the heat. Discard the vanilla bean.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a bowl and pour the poaching liquid over them. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes, turning them from time to time. (The longer the pears stand in the poaching liquid, the more they will absorb and the darker they will become. They can stand for several hours, or if refrigerated, up to 24 hours before serving. If you want to serve the pears warm after they have been refrigerated, pour the poaching liquid back into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, add the pears, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or just long enough to warm the pears.)
3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
To make the sauce: If using fresh raspberries, reserve a few for garnish. In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients and, mashing the berries with the back of a wooden spoon, cook over high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, another 5 minutes. Put a bowl beneath a food mill, then put the berries through the mill to remove the seeds, scraping the bottom of the mill to make sure you get all the pulp as well as the juice. Return the juice and pulp to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until the sauce thickens a bit and warms, 2 to 3 minutes.
Arrange 2 warm or chilled pear halves on each dessert plate and pout a tablespoon or so of the poaching liquid over them, then a spoonful of the raspberry sauce. Garnish with a few whole raspberries, if available.