16 Feb RED WINE POACHED PEARS
2 cups dry red wine
2/3 cups sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
5 wide strips of orange zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 medium Bosc pears, ripe but firm, peeled, stems left intact (about 6 oz. each)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup non-dairy whipping cream or soy milk
What a beautiful way to incorporate alcohol into an elegant Purim dessert. Can be doubled and made a day ahead of time.
Rewarm chocolate sauce before serving. In a 1-1/2-qt. pot with a lid, combine wine, sugar, cinnamon, and zest over medium heat. Bring to a rapid simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add vanilla extract. Slice a tiny piece from the bottom of each pear to make a at surface. Add the pears to the pot, laying them on their sides half submerged in the liquid. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the pears, cover, and simmer until mostly tender when pierced with a toothpick, an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, turn the pears, and let cool, covered, until room temperature, turning once more halfway through cooling time, about 1-1/2 hours. When the pears have cooled, remove them from the wine. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks, and zest. Bring the wine to a boil over medium heat, and reduce to 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes. The wine should be glossy and syrupy. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chocolate and whipping cream or soy milk. Melt chocolate over very low ame, stirring while melting. To serve: Put each pear on a dessert plate or in a shallow bowl. Spoon about 1 teaspoon. of the wine sauce over the pears. Stir the remaining wine sauce into the chocolate sauce, and spoon some around the bottom of each pear or drizzle over each pear.