Poached Pears with Honey Mascarpone Cream - This elegant and easy dessert looks so much more complicated than it actually is! The key to success with this recipe is to choose a naturally firm pear varietal, such as the red Anjou used here. You also want to use pears that are not quite ripe for this dish. Softer pear varieties and/or overly ripe specimens have a tendency to turn to mush while cooking, so it pays to choose carefully while shopping.
- 3 cups Riesling or other sweet white whine
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp whole cloves
- 3 whole star anise
- 6 firm pears, peeled
- dash ground cinnamon, for garnish
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3 Tbs half & half
- 3 Tbs runny honey
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp organic orange zest
- Combine white wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise in a large skillet with high sides. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the honey is melted and the spices become fragrant, approximately 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, halve the pears and carefully remove the seeds with the tip of a potato peeler or small spoon.
- Carefully add the pears to the simmering poaching liquid. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Do not overcook.
- While the pears are poaching, place the softened mascarpone cheese and half & half in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until light and airy. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a hand-held mixer to blend).
- Add the honey, vanilla extract, and orange zest and whip until combined. Place in the fridge to chill before serving.
- Remove pears from heat and cool slightly. Serve immediately with a spoonful of the honey mascarpone cream and a dash of cinnamon. Top with a drizzle of the poaching liquid, if desired.