Poires au Vin Rouge Poivrées
(Peppered pears in red wine)

Pears

Serves 4

The peppercorns add a surprising note to the flavour of this dish.

8 firm pears
100g sugar
600ml red wine
strip of lemon peel
5cm piece cinnamon
teaspoon black peppercorns
Chantilly cream made with 150ml double cream, 2 teaspoons sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla essence (optional - for serving)


1. Choose a saucepan that just holds the standing pears. In it put the sugar, red wine, lemon peel, cinnamon and peppercorns and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 5 minutes and allow to cool slightly.

2. Peel the pears, core them carefully from the base but leave the stalk. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each so the pears stand up. Immerse the pears in the syrup, adding more wine if necessary to cover them. Cover with the lid and poach them 20-45 minutes or until tender.
NOTE: cooking time depends on the variety and ripeness of the pears, 20 minutes is a minimum to prevent discoloration around the cores.

3. Allow the pears to cool to tepid in the syrup, then drain them and arrange in a shallow dish. Strain the syrup and reduce until thick (do not allow it to caramelise); taste and add sugar or lemon juice if necessary. Allow to cool slightly and spoon it over the pears. Chill them thoroughly. The pears can be cooked 24 hours ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator. Serve Chantilly cream separately.

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