Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Red Wine Poached Pears with Chocolate Red Wine Ganache: Valentine's Day in a Bowl

Looking for that perfect Valentine's Day treat for your honey?

Look no further. I have just the thing for you.

And to be honest, this is a "knock em dead" type of dessert. I mean, you can't really serve this dessert without impressing the pants off of (eh, eh, eh?) your guest.

Trust me...

Whoa! Don't get worked up! I was kidding...


But seriously.. Want to score a few extra brownie points on Valentine's Day? Guys, make this for your lady and she will think you took a cooking class and didn't tell her.

Girls, make this for your man and well... He will be hooked forever. Like, I am talking diamond engagement ring hooked...

It is just THAT good.

Okay so enough lead up, I am sure you want to know what this incredible dessert is, right? *This is, assuming of course, that you can't read the title... but humor me anyway.*

Two words: RED. WINE.

Lots of it.

Not just red wine in a glass.

Oh no.

I'm talking red wine, in a glass, alongside a bowl with/or without a brownie (the brownie is really optional... more or less a condiment to the real star of the show in this dish), topped with a juicy pear that has been poached in red wine and spices, then soaked for hours (or if you are short on time, simmered for 30 minutes), topped with a red wine chocolate ganache, homemade whipped cream, and drizzled with a red wine reduction sauce.

In short: it is THE perfect Valentine's day dessert.



It's like a giant Valentine in a bowl.

But it's good for other holidays too.

And it's ridiculously easy to make, but like I said, you will look like a pro.

Red Wine Poached Pears

1 bottle red wine (I used a cheap Merlot... no need to waste on a fancy red wine... any cheap bottle will do.)
2-4 pears (depending on how much you want to make)
1/4 cup white sugar

Wash and peel the pears. If you are feeling fancy, you can peel 1/2 inch sections off of the pear vertically, from base to tip, in a spiral fashion around the pear. It is a little trickier, but the presentation is unbelievable.

If you are like me and in a hurry, you can peel them completely, then halve them and use a melon baller to remove the middle with the seeds and junk. This doesn't make for a bad presentation either since the melon baller gives a place to put the chocolate sauce later... like a little reservoir for goodness...

Pour the wine into a medium size sauce pot and add a few dashes of cinnamon (maybe a tsp or two?), a splash or two of vanilla, and the white sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring gently, over high heat.

** At this point, reserve 1/2 cup of the wine mixture for your ganache. Then continue with the recipe **

Once at a boil, carefully add the pears and return to a soft boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until pears are a dark red color. Remove pears and continue to simmer sauce until it thickens slightly and reduces.

If you have time and are preparing these the night before, you can skip the reduction step and pour the entire pot into a tupperware and chill overnight. This will give the pears extra time to really soak up the wine, and you can still make your reduction the next day (if you don't like the consistency the sauce already has).

Red Wine Chocolate Ganache

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cup chocolate chopped really finely (I wanted to skip the chopping step and I happened to have Nestle mini chocolate chips in semi sweet, so I used those and they worked great)
1/2 cup of the red wine mixture

In a small sauce pan bring the cream to a boil. Pour over chocolate in a bowl and stir with a whisk until chocolate melts. Add wine. It helps if the wine is warm as it continues to melt the chocolate, but if you are doing the ganache the next day then your wine is probably cold, so feel free to heat it up in a different sauce pan or in the microwave for a few seconds.

Continue to whisk until it is smooth and completely blended. The ganache should be smooth and shiny, without any lumps.

Make the ganache as close as you can to the time of serving to avoid it cooling to much and over thickening.

This ganache would make an incredible cheesecake topping, ice cream topping, cupcake filling or topping, and so much more.

I will be honest, I would eat this stuff off of cardboard it is so good.

Homemade Whipped Cream

Heavy whipping cream
1-2 Tablespoons sugar

If you have a magic bullet blender, food processor, hand blender, or anything that mixes things up really fast (was that a dumbed down description? surely not ;) ), pour your cream in the cup/bowl/whatever and top it with the sugar. Whip, blend, process or beat until it is fluffy and light. This is another thing to be made right before serving as it will thin out as it sits.

Next step is to assemble your dessert.

For WHOLE PEARS: Mound about two spoonfuls of ganache into a bowl and stand a single pear upright in the middle of the ganache. Drizzle lightly with the wine sauce (not too much or it will look messy), and garnish with homemade whipped cream and a mint leaf, or any other garnish you like. Perhaps a chocolate shaving? Serve with a glass of your favorite red wine.

For PEAR HALVES: Using a plastic sandwich baggie, pipe a swirl of chocolate ganache on the bottom of a bowl. Using a spoon, drizzle the red wine sauce inside the swirl. Place a pear half on top and fill the well in the center of the pear with the ganache. Top with homemade whipped cream and garnish of your choice. Mint leaf, chocolate shaving, part of a cinnamon stick, candy heart. You name it, do whatever speaks to you...



by the way,

YOU ARE WELCOME... Trust me...