Drunken Poached Pears are an elegant and mouthwatering dessert perfect to serve during the colder months of the year. Simple ingredients such as wine, sugar and spices combined with a decadent reduction, make this a perfect dessert served either warm or cold.
Typical to Tuscany these poached pears can be enjoyed at one of our favorite Florentine TRATTORIE hidden in the streets of Firenze. Tucked away right close to the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio and secretly kept from the influx of tourists lies the open market where the true Italians do their daily shopping for seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables. Here it is, simple and true comfort food. Men and women come on their lunch break, others just after getting what they need at the market for their next meal, to enjoy simple but traditional dishes that are masterfully prepared by Rocco at the Trattoria da Rocco. Looking for a true Tuscan experience and tired to just be exposed to the often mediocre culinary tourist traps? Go find Trattoria da Rocco and taste for yourself a delicious traditional meal accompanied by his poached, drunken pears. Let's get started!
Pour the water and wine into an oven safe pot and place on the stove over medium heat.
Add the sugar, salt, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and orange rind.
Bring the wine mixture to a simmer, until all the sugar has dissolved.
Carefully peel the pears, making sure not to remove the stem. Peeling is optional as they are also delicious untouched.
Gently place the pears in the wine, cover with a lid, and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. 10 minutes into poaching, carefully turn the pears in order to allow all sides to be immersed in the wine. Transfer the pot back in the oven for the remaining 10 minutes.
Once the pears are tender, remove pan from the oven, allowing the pears to cool in the wine.
After the pears have been allowed to cool, place them on a dish and set them aside.
Take off the lid and reduce the wine while simmering over medium heat, either in the oven or on the stove. This might take about 10 minutes. The reduction will become a thick syrup.
For the spun sugar, place the sugar in a separate heavy duty frying pan on medium / high heat. Immediately pour the water and the corn syrup over the sugar. Allow all the sugar to be saturated with the water without being tempted to stir. Stirring will cause the sugar to crystalize.
As shown in the video, the mixture will begin to bubble up. As soon as the sugar begins to turn amber around the edges of the pan, turn down the heat to a minimum and stir the ingredients. When everything is uniformly an amber color remove from the heat source as it will continue to brown quickly. Overheating will cause the sugar to become unpleasantly bitter.
Set each pear on a serving dish and drizzle first the wine reduction over each.
Very carefully place a wooden spoon into the amber, caramelized sugar and with a quick back and forth motion, or in a circular motion allow the very hot sugar to drizzle over each pear. The very thin strands of melted sugar will harden in mid air and give the illusion of fine, silky strands. Elegantly this dessert will be a joy to serve to family and guests. Enjoy!