Pacherenc is a regional delicacy in the South West of France. It is a wine of sweet or "moelleux" variety and most notably reminiscent of a Sauterne or Jurancon (which you can also use if a Pacherenc is not available). We were married in the South West of France and we still have many bottles left over from that day...so using 1 bottle for a festive fall dessert didn't seem like such a bad idea. You can make these pears without the cookie base and simply use ice cream, but the cookie really gives the dessert a nice crunch & a hint of saltiness. —Culinista Annouchka
4 to 5
Pacherenc-poached winter pears
4-6 firm but ripe pears, peeled, stems intact (we used red Bartlett)
1 bottle of Pacherenc (doux) or similar dessert wine
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)
1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise
1 star anise
4 whole cloves
Good quality vanilla ice cream
dark chocolate & salted pistachio cookies (recipe below)
Make sure you choose a pot with a tight-fitting lid which will hold the pears closely together.
Combine wine, sugar and water on medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. The mixture should be simmering.
Add the pears, cinnamon, vanilla bean, star anise & prick each of the pears with a clove (it’s fine if 1 or 2 of the pears don’t have a clove). Make sure the pears are submerged in as much liquid as possible.
Return the liquid to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Place a piece of parchment paper a bit larger than the pot on top of the pears and cover with the lid. This will ensure the pears stay moist. Cook until the pears are tender, turning them so they cook evenly for about 40 to 50 minutes.
Lift the pears and continue reducing the poaching liquid for another few minutes.
You can also make this dish ahead and leave the pears in the liquid until ready to serve. Simply reheat for a few minutes before lifting the pears to a serving dish.
To assemble: place a chocolate cookie in the bottom of a “verrine” or shallow bowl, top with a few scoops of ice cream and then nestle a pear on top followed with a few tablespoons of the poaching syrup.
Dark chocolate & salted pistachio cookies
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Heat 2 cups of the chips with 3 tablespoons of butter. Stirring often until smooth and combined. Set aside.
Cream remaining 5 tablespoons of butter with sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and incorporate fully. Mix in the flour & baking soda, making sure not to over mix. Add the pistachios.
Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the cookie sheet, flattening it out to form a circle about 3?-3 1/2? wide. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with a touch of Fleur de Sel. Bake 12 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of the cookie), until cracks form on the top. The centers should still be soft. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet.