Poached pears in red wine • Ahlathia me grasi
This is based on a very traditional recipe but I bet a canny trick my mum has shown me, one even Wendy my food stylist had not come across, will be new to you and impressive!
Ripe pears gently poached in a robust Cypriot red wine with oranges, cloves and…yes, beetroot. Don’t worry, you don’t eat the beetroot, we only want it for the lovely rich colour it will give the pears.
Serve the pears warm or chilled with vanilla or mastiki ice cream or rizogalo and they are also a match made in heaven, sliced and served on a cheese plate.
8 firm dessert pears
2 bottles of full bodied Cypriot
red wine, like Maratheftiko
1½ glass (300g) of caster sugar
a good handful of whole cloves
2-3 cooked beetroot, cut into
pared rind and juice of 1 orange
Carefully peel the pears leaving the stalks intact. If necessary take a slither off the base to make sure they stand upright-ish after soaking up the wine!
Place the pears in a saucepan then tip in the sugar, a good handful of cloves, beetroot, orange rind and its juice. Now pour the red wine on making sure the pears are fully immersed.
Heat to a gentle simmer, then cover and poach for around 30-40 minutes or until just tender, the time will vary depending on the ripeness of the pears. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the pears to a pretty glass serving bowl. Remember to take out and discard the beetroot!
Now increase the heat to bubble the red wine down to a syrupy consistency. By now the whole house will be wafting in a heady aroma of mulled wine! Cool then pour over the pears, cover and chill until ready to serve.
For more information on Tonia Buxton and her new book Eat Greek for a Week visit her website: www.toniabuxton.co.uk
More of Tonia delicious recipes here