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from "Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook" by Ruth Van Waerebeek

In the Middle Ages cooks favored the very full-bodied Bastarde wines imported from Spain to prepare the spiced and mulled wines that were the fancy of the day. You can use any fruity, full-bodied red to prepare these poached pears, which have become an all-time favorite dessert.

In Belgium, these poached pears are often served as an accompaniment to festive game dinners, such as roast boar or venison, and always with the Christmas turkey.

Serves 6
 Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook

6 firm-ripe large pears, such as Anjou, or 12 Seckel pears, peeled, stems left intact
1 bottle (750 ml) fruity red wine, such as a California Burgundy
1 lemon, peeled, white pith removed, sliced
4 whole cloves
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cinnamon sticks (each 2 inches long)
1 strip (1 inch long) lemon zest
6 fresh mint leaves, for garnish

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1. Place the pears and the wine in a non-reactive medium-size saucepan. Be sure the wine completely covers the pears. Stud 4 of the lemon slices with the cloves and add them with all the other ingredients except the mint to the pears. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until the pears are soft but not mushy, 25 to 35 minutes.
2. Transfer the pears to a serving bowl. Reduce the poaching liquid over high heat by one-third to concentrate the flavors. This may take up to 15 minutes. Pour over the pears—cinnamon sticks and all—and let cool.
3. Let the pears sit for a few hours or, even better, overnight, so they can fully absorb the flavors in the wine. They will turn a beautiful vermilion color.
4. Serve at room temperature, in individual bowls, garnished with a mint leaf, with plenty of the sweet spiced wine alongside.

Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Anjou Pears
This product is currently unavailable.
  Lemons - $0.89/ea Save! 5 for $4
  Cardeal Dão Red Wine
This product is currently unavailable.
  Mint - $2.49/ea
 approx. 2oz
You May Already Have
  Domino Granulated White Sugar - $2.79/ea
  FreshDirect Whole French Cloves
This product is currently unavailable.
  FreshDirect Cinnamon Sticks
This product is currently unavailable.
  Spice Select Pure Vanilla Extract - $8.99/ea
 2fl oz
  Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans
No vanilla beans available. Consider vanilla extract.
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