Try this peppercorn-infused Poached Pears with Pepper recipe as a spicy dessert for your next meal.
Small Comice and Anjou pears are particularly good poached. The pepper adds a warmth which contrasts with the sweetness of the fruit and wine.
• 6 small firm-ripe pears, about 2 pounds
• 1 750-ml bottle dry red wine
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons black or white peppercorns
• 1/2 pint whipping cream
1. Pare the pears, leaving the stems intact. With paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove as much of the cores as possible from the blossom ends.
2. Place the wine and sugar in a non-corrodible pan just large enough to hold the pears. Cook, stirring occasionally, over high heat until the sugar is just dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pears and peppercorns.
3. Simmer the pears, turning them occasionally, until they are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove them from the heat and let them cool to room temperature, then transfer the pears to a serving dish. Strain the poaching liquid and boil until it is reduced by half. Cool to room temperature.
4. Whip the cream to soft peaks, with a little sugar if desired. Chill the cream for a few minutes or as long as 2 hours.
5. Pour the poaching liquid over the pears and serve the whipped cream on the side. Serves 6.
Susan Belsinger and Carolyn Dille, respectively from Brookeville, Maryland, and San Jose, California, are innovative food developers and coauthors of such jewels as Herbs in the Kitchen (Loveland, Colorado: Interweave Press, 1992) and the spicy New Southwestern Cooking (New York: Macmillan, 1985).
For a history of the peppercorn spice and more peppercorn recipes read: Versatile World Spices: Cooking With Peppercorns.
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