5 Ingredients or Fewer

Wine-Poached Pears Baked in Custard Cream

by:
November  6, 2012
Author Notes

I wanted a simple homey dish of pears baked in cream. I flipped through Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts: a pear tart provided the basis for the poaching liquid. I had an open bottle of wine to use up. There wasn't nearly enough in there--is there ever?-- so I opened a second bottle of same. This in itself was cause for celebration, so I raised a glass and sampled some. Immediately things fell into place--oops! I forged tipsily ahead. For the cream sauce I referred to a new book on my shelf, Gâteaux from the Fait Maison series for a sort of crème Anglais, sans eggs. Here is the happy result. Let me know how you like it! —creamtea

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 6
Ingredients
  • to poach pears
  • 3 firm-ripe Bosc pears, peeled, halved, the seeds scooped out with a melon baller, and cored with a sharp knife
  • 4 cups sweet bubbly white wine (I used Moscato)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated organic sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, and the seeds scraped with the point of a sharp knife
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice plus a little extra for squeezing over pears
  • for the final assembly
  • 1 tablespoon butter plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons granulated organic sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, and the seeds scraped with the point of a sharp knife
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375º.
  2. Butter a casserole large enough to hold the pear halves in one layer.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the white wine, 3/4 C sugar, half-pod of the vanilla bean and seeds, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, 3-4 minutes. Add pear halves. Turn flame to low.
  4. Poach for 10-15 minutes or until tender, lift with slotted spoon and place in buttered casserole cut-side down, alternating the direction of the pears. Continue to simmer down the syrup until reduced by 1/3. Brush about a teaspoon of syrup onto each pear half. Dot each pear half with butter.
  5. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the half-and-half, the 3 tablespoons of sugar, the remaining 1/2 vanilla bean and its seeds, and the cornstarch. Over medium heat and whisking constantly, bring the cream mixture gently to a boil. Lower heat and continue to whisk until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and gently pour cream around the pears. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes; remove cover and bake an additional 30-40 minutes (begin checking after 20 minutes) until custard has thickened and poufed a bit and top and edges have browned nicely. Remove from oven, serve warm.

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