Scarlet Poached Pears
Poached pears are an elegant dessert which are super easy to make. They dressed up my crystallized ginger tart to a sophisticated topping to my wine infused gelée. The secret to keeping the pears a brilliant red are beets. My blood-red beet stained hands from chopping roasted beets for a salad one evening gave me the idea. One sliced beet added to the wine poaching liquid acted as a natural food coloring.
Any red or white wine that you like to drink will be good. I choose a Cabernet Sauvignon because the Cabs range from medium-bodied to full-bodied, high tannin content and rich fruit characteristics. My Cab of choice was Lynfred Winery's Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. Choose a wine that has bold structure, like Lynfred's Cab, so that the wine does not become "flat" during the poaching process. Lynfred's Cab flavor profile includes plum, cherry, blackberry, warm spice, vanilla and hints leather. Adding a cinnamon stick, whole cloves and a bay leaf to the wine poaching mixture enhanced the wine's spice and herbal notes.
If you use really ripe pears, they will become mush and break apart during the poaching process. Be sure to use medium to firm pears.