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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pears in mulled red wine

This is a fool-proof dessert. Literally. Anyone with a bottle of plonk and half a brain can make it and yet, I so seldom see it done. It's one of those glorious-looking, can't stuff it up, serve it hot or cold or even the next day wonders.

I was in Kenton visiting my mother for the weekend and my uncle had flown out from England to surprise us so it was a full-on family do. The weekend was a menagerie of laughter, food and wine, all culminating in a big Sunday lunch on my last day. He loves desserts, so when planning the spread I had to bear this in mind. Cooking desserts away from your own kitchen is a bore; there's always something vital missing in the pantry, the oven never works in the way you want it to and something inevitably flops, but that's where this dessert comes in handy; pears, wine, sugar, cinnamon, you can get these four ingredients anywhere in the world, no oven, no worries and every time I've made it, it has the 'wow' factor.

Avoid family arguments, keeping everyone happy. Make this.

Pears in mulled red wine

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
  • 4-6 pears
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 tsp cinnamon/2 sticks cinnamon 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Ice cream/ mascarpone cream to serve
  • Put pears in a deep saucepan, pour in sugar, wine, cinnamon
  • Cover and simmer for 20 min, turning pears occasionally to ensure even colouring, until pears are just soft, remove pears and boil syrup for a further 15 minutes until reduced and thickened.
  • Serve warm or cold with ice cream or mascarpone cream.
Mascapone cream:
whip 250ml cream until stiff and, in a separate bowl, whip 1 tub of mascapone to loosen it, then add the seeds of 1 vanilla pod or some vanilla paste, fold the mascarpone into the cream and refrigerate until needed.