The recipe takes almost no time for you to prepare. All you have to do is spend a few minutes quartering, peeling and coring the pears, and then combine them with the other ingredients to marinate for an hour while you go do something else. Lastly, you cook the pears for just 15 minutes before letting them cool to room temperature for serving.
Simplicity also rules in the way you serve them. Just spoon a few pear quarters, cherries and the cooking juices into serving bowls, garnish with mint, and you're ready to enjoy a treat that tastes as fresh as springtime -- and would make a perfect addition to your holiday table for Easter or Passover .
You'll also notice, by the way, that the recipe doesn't include even a spoonful of added sugar. That's because the pears and the wine in which they are briefly poached provide enough sweetness on their own, making this an especially healthy dessert to enjoy at just around the time you might be thinking about fitting into your swimsuit. After all, we're only three months away!
Pear and Dried Sour Cherry Compote
Serves 8 to 10
8 large firm, but ripe Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup (250 mL) dried sour cherries
1/2 vanilla bean
2 cups (500 mL) fruity, aromatic white wine such as gewurztraminer or riesling
8 to 10 small sprigs fresh mint
With a small, sharp knife, cut each pear lengthwise in half, and then remove the stem and core. Cut the halves in two and put the quarters in a medium mixing bowl. Drizzle the lemon juice and toss well to coat the pears.
Loosely arrange the pear quarters in a single layer in a nonreactive 12-inch (30-cm) skillet. Scatter in the dried cherries.
With the small, sharp knife, cut the piece of vanilla bean lengthwise in half. With the back edge of the knife blade, carefully scrape the tiny vanilla seeds from the middle of each half. Put the seeds and the bean halves in the pan with the pears. Pour the wine over the pears, cover the skillet, and leave the pears at room temperature to marinate for about 1 hour.
Leaving the pears covered, transfer the skillet to the stove over medium heat. When the wine is almost at a boil, reduce the heat to very low and cook until the pears are barely tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife, about 15 minutes depending on ripeness.
Transfer the pears and their liquid from the skillet to a heatproof bowl and leave to cool. Serve at room temperature, arranging 3 or 4 pear quarters in each serving bowl and then spooning the cherries and sauce over the pears. Garnish each serving with a mint sprig.
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