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Category: Desserts

Peppered pears

Peppered pears
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Forget arugula. The true symbol of how far American cooking has come in the last few decades is black pepper. When I went to restaurant school in 1983, our bible of ingredients, "Wenzel's Menu Maker," listed only two varieties, Malabar ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 4
Note: The poaching liquid also can be served without the pears as a sauce for chocolate ice cream.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns, preferably Tellicherry
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice
  • 3 cups good-quality Port
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 large, firm but ripe pears (preferably Anjou)

Step 1Combine the peppercorns and allspice in a mortar and coarsely crush with pestle. Place the spices in a large saucepan or pot (wide enough to hold the pears, halved, in a single layer). Add the Port and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Step 2While the Port mixture steeps, peel, halve and core the pears.

Step 3Strain the Port mixture through a fine sieve to remove the spices. Return it to the pan on low heat. Lay the pears into the pan, cut side down. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Uncover and turn the pears over. Cover and cook 3 minutes longer, until the pears are soft but not mushy. Transfer to a platter with a slotted spoon and arrange cut side up.

Step 4Raise the heat under the saucepan and cook the liquid until it is reduced almost to a glaze, to about half a cup, about 15 minutes. Pour over the pears, filling each cavity, and serve at once or after cooling.

Each serving:
468 calories; 1 gram protein; 73 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 0 fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 18 mg. sodium.
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