Vanilla-Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cream




We’re headed to US Botanic Garden this weekend for their Junior Botanist Festival Saturday Sept. 26, 10 am-3 pm. Come join us for demos using vanilla beans. The Garden has a vanilla orchid as part of its collection, so you can see how the bean grows in real time. Vanilla-poached pears are a fall fave. Adrienne will be demoing this. Danielle is working up an apple-vanilla concoction and we’ll post it as soon as it’s perfected. Come taste something delicious Saturday at 100 Maryland Ave SW. The Pope will be long gone.

Poached Pears:

4 firm Bosc or Comice pears (do not use ripe or soft pears)
2 C red wine
1 vanilla bean, whole or 1 t vanilla extract for poaching liquid
2 cinnamon sticks
1 C sugar
2 T cold butter, divided in half

Peel and cut the pear in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the seeds and core. You are creating a small “bowl” in the pear half that will later hold the marscapone cream. In a deep saucepan, bring wine and 2 C water to a simmer. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and add to wine and water mixture. Add cinnamon and sugar. Add pears to liquid and simmer for 20 to 35 minutes or until tender but not too soft. Remove pears from liquid and reserve. (If making ahead, hold pears in poaching liquid, removing the cinnamon, vanilla and bay leaf. Cool the liquid and pears down to below 70F, then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove pears from liquid and bring to room temperature, then proceed with the recipe.)

Remove the cinnamon, bay leaves and vanilla bean from the wine mixture. Continue to simmer and reduce the liquid until thick and syrupy, about five minutes. Be sure not to over-reduce or burn the syrup. Whisk in butter, quickly, one tablespoon at a time. Cover sauce and remove from heat; hold until ready to serve.

Mascarpone Cream:

1 (8-ounce) containers of Mascarpone cheese (may substitute cream cheese)
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/4 C heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine in a small bowl the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, pinch cinnamon, vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth.

To serve, place a small dollop of the Mascarpone Cream on a dessert dish. Place a poached pear half on top of the dollop, which keeps it from sliding. Fill the “bowl” of the pear with mascarpone cream. Spoon or drizzle pear with red wine syrup. Repeat with remaining pears.

Many thanks to Rachel Reuben, for original recipe.


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