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
Honey Mascarpone Cream Ingredients:
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.
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