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Mandarin red wine poached pears

Recipe created in collaboration with Red Rich Fruits, locally-owned growers of superior quality fresh Australian fruit.

This recipe pairs the sweetness of ripe Packham Pears with the zesty juiciness of Murcott Mandarins. Poach them together with some red wine and spices and you’ve got yourself the perfect winter-warming comfort dish. Serve with cream or ice cream for dessert, or over porridge for breakfast.

Serves 6-7

Ingredients:

  • 4 firm but ripe Red Rich Fruits pears, peeled, stems left intact. We’ve used Packham Pears, but Beurre Bosc would also work well.
  • Zest & juice of 1 large or 2 small mandarins (approx ½ cup of juice)
  • 750ml dry red wine (cabernet or merlot work best)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (or 5 whole cardamom pods)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • To serve
  • Cream or ice cream
  • 10 ginger snap biscuits, crumbled

Method:

  1. Before beginning, place the pears into your selected pot and make sure they fit snugly. You want the pears to fit as closely together as possible to ensure the fruit will immerse in the poaching liquid. The Essteele Per Vita 24cm Stock Pot, is just the right size to poach 7 pears at once to feed a family; but you may wish to select a smaller pot if you’re looking to make a smaller quantity. To reduce the number of pears, simply use the same volume of liquid with fewer pears in a smaller pot.
  2. Peel the pears, leaving the stems in tact. Use a melon baller to scoop out the core from the bottom of each pear.
  3. Combine the red wine, water, mandarin juice and zest, sugar and spices in your chosen pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add the pears, making sure they’re as close to covered by the liquid as possible. Once the liquid is bubbling again, reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the pears are tender and easily pierced with a knife or skewer. If the pears are not fully immersed in the poaching liquid, turn them every five minutes or so to ensure they’re evenly cooked and coloured. Once tender, remove the pears from the poaching liquid, cover, and set aside.
  5. Bring the poaching liquid to a boil over medium heat. Gently boil until the liquid is reduced to around 2 cups (20-30 mins), stirring occasionally. Once reduced, strain the poaching liquid through a fine sieve to remove any leftover mandarin pulp, cloves and the cinnamon stick, then set aside to cool a little.
  6. To serve, place each pear in a bowl, top with cream or ice cream, drizzle with poaching liquid, then garnish with crushed ginger biscuits. Excess poaching liquid is delicious poured over ice cream! This recipe can be made in advance and stored in the fridge up to a couple of days.