This elegant dessert is perfect for a special occasion. Yet, it is simple and light enough to make for the perfect end to an every day meal.
The sauce combines the wonderful flavors of red wine, rich spices, mint and cocoa. And the mascarpone is accented perfectly with a touch of honey and cardamom.
Even those who normally don't prefer fruit desserts, often love this recipe.
Prep time:15 minutes
Cook time:30 minutes
- 4 firm, ripe pears
- 1 1/2 cups red wine (A Syrah or Shiraz such as The 2016 Porcupine Ridge Boekenhoutskloof South African Syrah worked beautifully)*
- 2/3 cup organic cane sugar or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder + 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon organic butter
- 2 tablespoons organic heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons corn starch + water
- 6-8 fresh mint leaves, plus some for garnish
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- Freshly ground cardamom
*If preferred, pomegranate, grape, or cranberry juice can be used in place of the wine
- Vegetable peeler
- Large sauce pan or deep sided sauté pan
- Liquid measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
Step 1. Poach the pears
Peel the skins from the pear, but try to retain the stem. If necessary, cut the end of each pear so that it will stand flat on the cutting board.
In a deep-bottom saucepan, whisk together the wine, lemon juice, vanilla extract and sugar. Add the bay leaves, star anise, cinnamon stick and cinnamon powder.
Bring it to a boil.
Carefully, place the pears into the pan resting on one side.
Bring the heat to medium low. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
Gently turn each pear to the other side. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or so.
Remove the pan from the heat and cool.
Once cooled, remove the pears using a slotted spoon.
Step 2. Flavor the mascarpone
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the mascarpone and honey.
Add cardamom to taste.
If desired, place into a piping bag.
Step 3. Make the glaze
Place the poaching liquid on high heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce by half.
Discard the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and star anise.
Mix cocoa powder with the water and add it to the pan.
Bring to a boil and thicken with corn starch to desired consistency.
Add butter and heavy cream and keep stirring for about 2 minutes.
When the sauce starts to look smooth and silky, add the mint leaves and continue boiling for 2 more minutes.
Remove the mint leaves.
Taste for sweetness. If it’s not sweet enough for you, sweeten to taste.
Step 4. Garnish and serve
Stand each pear on a plate and drizzle with sauce.
Pipe or scoop flavored mascarpone near the base of each pear.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Dust with cocoa powder or chocolate slivers.
The pears can be poached in advance. Refrigerate the poaching liquid and pears separately until ready to make the sauce and serve.
Half of the poaching liquid can be reserved for other uses such as mojitos. And any remaning sauce can be used to top ice cream, pancakes, waffles, tarts etc...