Since this week started out with wine on Mulled Wine Day, I thought I would stick with wine as this week’s theme. I’ve made several recipes with wine for The Hungry Pinner, and I noticed most of them involve meat. The only exception was the Red Wine Chocolate Cake, my first foray into using wine in dessert recipes. I kept that in mind when hunting for a recipe for today and came up with these Red Wine Poached Pears with Chocolate & Cardamom. If I thought the title sounded good, I was completely on board when I read the recipe. Fresh pears poached in spiced red wine, drizzled with dark chocolate sauce and topped with mascarpone cream. Yeah, I need to make this recipe ?
Gorgeous pears poached in spice-infused wine until they are tender and gorgeous and lovely. Then, the wine used for poaching gets reduced down until it’s super syrupy. AND THEN (!!!) dark chocolate gets whisked in to create the most decadent, most addictive wine chocolate sauce ever.
I’m happy to say the ingredients for this recipe were easy to find at my regular grocery store. I had to stock up on quite a few items, with the mascarpone cheese being the most expensive item at $5.99.
I was even able to find organic bosc pears for $4.66 (they were priced at $2.99 per pound). If you prefer anjou, they can be found for $1.69-$2.99 per pound, with organic being the higher end.
I don’t usually splurge on organic, but I wanted to use the bosc pears since the author recommended them. I saved money on the wine–I found a bottle of Three Wishes Cabernet Sauvignon for $2.99. It was shockingly good too!
Finally, one trick I’ve learned over the years is to use chocolate chips when chopped chocolate is called for. It’s cheaper, saves me the work of chopping it, and saves me a little time. I found a 12-ounce bag of 67% dark chocolate for $3.99, making the cost for this recipe about $1.33.
These red wine poached pears sounded amazing, but they take a while to make. The active parts really aren’t that difficult. It’s the inactive parts—cooling and chilling—that take several hours.
I could have made these in a single day if I allowed 6+ hours for cooling and chilling, but I’m not that ambitious. The poached pears need to be refrigerated at least 4 hours but up to 24 hours. I decided to go with the longer time and make this recipe over the span of 2 days.
Day 1: Poaching the pears
This part was very simple on paper, but it did take the longest if you count cooling and refrigeration. Here’s how I spent my time:
- 11 minutes to prep
- 20 minutes to poach the pears
- 2 hours to cool to room temperature
- 2 hours 33 minutes total
Then I popped the entire pot into the refrigerator overnight, so roughly 24 hours chilling.
I used the smallest saucepan I have, but I’m not sure of the size. I think it’s 2 to 2.5 quarts. Unfortunately, the wine mixture covered about 1/3 of the pears. I doubled up on it (wine, water, sugar, and spices), and that covered about 2/3 of the pears.
The only drawback to the extra liquid was the pears fell over easily because they float. I had to right them several times before they would all stay standing. Then the wine mixture really started simmering, and 3 of the 4 pears fell back over. I gave up. The pears were all floating sideways as they poached.
I stood them back up while they cooled to room temperature. Surprisingly, they stayed upright as I moved the pan in and out of the refrigerator, so the pears stood upright while they chilled overnight. I’m not sure that was a good thing, though, since you can see the submerged parts ended up being much darker than what was exposed.
Day 2: Finishing up
The first thing I did was halve the wine mixture for the chocolate sauce. Not that I didn’t want to double up on the chocolate sauce too, but I didn’t have enough chocolate, LOL. Anyway, I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of the spiced red wine.
Making the chocolate sauce and mascarpone cream went smoothly and according to the directions. I had a serving of red wine poached pears served up in 24 minutes.
- 2 hours to warm the pears and mascarpone cheese
- 24 minutes to make the cream and sauce
- 2 hours 24 minutes total (day 2)
- 4 hours 57 minutes grand total (both days)
My only complaint with this recipe has to do with the chocolate I chose. It was budget-friendly, but it wasn’t designed for melting and turned out grainy (you can see it in the photo below). I strained the chocolate sauce through a mesh sieve for the main photo and it removed most of the graininess.
Something I want to point out is the mascarpone cream and chocolate sauce were very thin. Also, my favorite way to serve these pears was by drizzling the chocolate sauce onto the plate, adding the pear, then drizzling the pear with the mascarpone cream. I wasn’t really able to taste the mascarpone cream when I served them as suggested.