Allie and I love wine. We’re into everything: sweet carbonated reds (Lambrusco), funky reds (Aglianico), reds with smoke (Pinot Noir), huge sunburnt and windblown reds that roll and change flavors for 20 seconds (Super Tuscans and the Nebbiolo family), and whites from crisp Chablis to a sweet Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Wine is our favorite thing to drink. But we don’t always finish bottles we open.
What to do then, when you realize you’ve forgotten about a bottle that’s past its 4-day prime? Turn it into dessert.
Pears in wine is a classic. People have been pairing wine and fruit for centuries. Allie and I have a taste for rustic food, especially desserts, and you can’t get much closer to the land and the past than with a simple throwback like this one. Repurposing wine that would be otherwise worthless adds flavor. So does the knowledge that you’re eating something both really good for you and really good.
To cook pears in wine, you–surprise, you’ll never believe this!–cook pears in wine. As the pot simmers the pears soften and your Pinot or Grenache or Agiorgitiko or whatever red you’re cooking turns, after a honey spike and an hour, into syrup. Cut the heat. That’s all she wrote. We like to add (more) honey, cinnamon (sometimes), and ricotta for the hot-cool contrast. As with drinking wine, this one’s more fun when you relax, improvise, laugh in the face of all stuffiness, and have some fun. Recipe below.
What you need:
1.5 to 2 cups red wine
2 cinnamon sticks (or a few shakes of ground cinnamon)
1/3 cup honey
4 to 5 pears
What to do: 1) Put wine in a pot over medium heat. When wine starts to simmer, add cinnamon and honey. Stir. Add pears.
2) Cook for an hour, moving pears a quarter-turn every 15 minutes. If pears are slow to cook, cover your pot for the last 10 minutes. The pears are done when a fork slides in with little-to-no effort. Cut the heat…
3) …and then cut the pears in half if you want. Or you can serve them whole. Put whole or halved pear in a bowl. Spoon over wine syrup from the pot. Dollop ricotta. Drizzle honey. Rain cinnamon. Eat!