Spiced Pears with Port and Gorgonzola
Pears, Gorgonzola, and walnuts are the classic accompaniment to a fine port after dinner. Here the chef has combined the same elements to create a vividly colored dessert that is perfect for a cool evening. The pears may be poached up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat them over low heat before serving.
- Poached Pears
- Port Wine - 2 cups
- Star Anise - 4
- Cinnamon Sticks - 4
- Whole Cloves - 4
- Ground nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon
- Freshly ground black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Honey - 1/4 cup
- Light Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup, firmly packed
- Ripe Pears - 4
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Cold Gorgonzola Cheese - four, 3-ounce slices
- Walnuts - 1 cup, halves, toasted
Bring the port to a boil in an oven-proof medium gratin dish or casserole over medium heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, honey, and brown sugar. Cook the mixture until the liquid is reduced by one third.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Peel, quarter, and core the pears. Heat the butter in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium heat and saute the pears for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pears and butter to the poaching liquid and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender.
To serve: Place a slice of Gorgonzola cheese on each of four serving plates. Spoon the pears and some of the sauce next to the cheese. Garnish each with the toasted walnut halves, a star anise, a cinnamon stick, and a clove.