This recipe came from Michael Chiarello. There is something about pears that is just so elegant. And the fact that these pears are poached in red wine and filled with mascarpone just makes them even more appealing.
As one of my Christmas gifts to my mom and dad, I made them a decadent breakfast (panatone french toast with cinnamon syrup) and a hearty dinner (stuffed pork loin, smashed sweet potatoes, and a spinach gratin) These pears were the perfect dessert. They are rich but not heavy.
6 firm Bartlett pears
1 bottle red wine
1 vanilla bean, whole
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
2 cups sugar
2 (8 ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Peel pears and leave stem intact. In a large saucepan, bring wine and an equal amount of cold water to a simmer. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and add to wine and water mixture. Add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and sugar, to taste. Add pears to liquid and simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender. Cool pears in wine mixture to room temperature. You can refrigerate them in the poaching liquid until you're ready to fill them.
Remove stems from pears and set stems aside. Core pears with an apple corer, leaving pear whole.
Whisk together mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, pinch cinnamon and powdered sugar until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag, or if you do not have one, use wax paper tightly wrapped into a cone with the corner snipped off. Pipe filling into cored pears and finish by putting the stems gently into the mascarpone filling on top of the pears.
Bring sauce up to a simmer and reduce by half. Add butter to reduced sauce and stir until combined. Drizzle generously over pears.