From my story, “Do I smell Baked Pears Alicia?” (The Sequel)
4 firm pears (I used Forelle), peeled and cored from the bottom using a melon baller.
1 x 500ml bottle (approximately 2 cups) sweet white dessert wine (Moscato or Riesling. I used Santa Julia Tardío, an Argentinean late harvest Torrontés.)
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
4 Cinnamon sticks
¼ tsp cardamom
Approximately 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, sliced
Juice of 1 half lemon
Demerara Sugar for sprinkling
Amaretti cookies (crushed, for sprinkling)
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients (including the empty vanilla bean), except for the pears. Bring to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat to barely a simmer, cover, and continue heating for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the peeled, cored, pears to the warm liquid; add more water if needed so that the pears are almost submerged. Allow the pears to “marinate” in the liquid for several hours (at least four) or overnight, gently turning them occasionally to make sure they are covered.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Gently place the pears into a heavy baking dish (I used an 8” x 8” earthenware baker.) The pears should not be crowded. Sprinkle lightly with the Demerara sugar, and bake for 25 minutes.
While the pears are baking, bring the wine / marinade to a boil, continuing the boil the mixture until it has reduced roughly by half.
Serve the pears warm, placing the fruit in compote dishes or martini glasses, drizzling with the reduced wine marinade, then sprinkling lightly with more Demerara sugar and crushed Amaretti cookies.
*My recipe, inspired by the Mary Tyler Moore show.