Poached Pears in Moscato-Spiced Thyme Honey Syrup with Blue Cheese ToppingHere is a contemporary version of poached pears (or quinces) with a dollop of blue cheese cream. They are drizzled with reduced Moscato wine syrup scented with thyme honey and spices, with a few fresh thyme leaves as a garnish.
12 large, firm but almost ripe Anjou or Bosc pear
Juice and zest from 2 lemons
3 cups water
3 cups sugar
2 (750 ml) bottles Moscato or other sweet dessert wine
4 cinnamon sticks
¼ cup thyme honey
1½ tablespoons ground ginger
8 ounces blue cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Fresh thyme leaves, to garnish
1. Peel pears, cut in half lengthwise and remove core. Cut off a small slice from back of each half so they do not rock, and lay them in a single layer in large, heavy pans. Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
2. In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Add wine, cinnamon sticks, lemon zest, honey and ginger, and simmer to melt honey. Pour over pears and simmer over medium-low heat until they are just tender when pierced with a small knife, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on ripeness and variety. Do not overcook. Remove pears from liquid with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish to cool.
3. Bring poaching liquid to a boil and reduce to a thick syrup, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and strain.
4. While pears cool, mash cheese until smooth. Whisk in heavy cream until smooth and thick and add vanilla. Don’t overbeat. Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a wide star tip and pipe a swirl onto each pear half. Pour syrup over pears and garnish with a few thyme leaves. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to several hours (removing pears from refrigerator about an hour before serving time). Serve on individual plates or in a fruit compote dish.
NUTRITIONAL DATA (per serving): Calories: 250; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 85 mg; Fat: 6 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g
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