I have been wanting to try my hand at red wine poached pears, an elegant and beautiful dessert. However, many recipes call for a substantial amount of sugar and an entire bottle of red wine.
Fortuitously, as I was grocery shopping one day, I spotted a bottle of organic grape juice made from the same grapes used for cabernet sauvignon, so I thought why not try this instead of red wine, especially since grape juice is naturally sweet and about a third of the cost of an inexpensive bottle of red wine.
|Organic Grape Juice is naturally sweet|
To give the pears a deeper, redder color, I thought pomegranate juice would be a nice addition. Also, since pomegranate and grape juice are both naturally sweet, I didn’t have to use any additional sugar, a big plus.
I chose warm spices for these ruby red poached pears – star anise, black cardamom, whole cloves, cinnamon and ginger. To top off these beautiful Pomegranate Poached Pears, I wanted something rich and decadent, yet healthier than mascarpone cheese or whipped cream, which is often served on the side. An Orange Cashew Cream seemed a perfect match to compliment the spices used to infuse the poached pears. Compared to mascarpone cheese, cashew cream has 1/3 less saturated fat and no cholesterol.
When I first developed this recipe and saw the end result, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The Pomegranate Poached Pears came out beautifully, tender and sweet, and the Orange Cashew Cream and pistachio nut garnish added the perfect contrast. I knew I had something special on my hands, so I have been saving this recipe for a special occasion, not quite knowing when that might be.
Well, the opportunity arose to share this unique recipe this past week when I learned of a virtual, progressive dinner, hosted by Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry, to raise awareness of childhood hunger in the U.S. during this critical holiday season. I couldn’t think of a better cause to donate my recipe to.
Nearly 17 million children- that’s almost one in four – face hunger in the U.S., not knowing where their next meal will come from. That is a stunning statistic! During this holiday season, when we are scurrying around buying gifts and enjoying celebratory meals with our families, I would urge you to take a few minutes to reflect on those less fortunate, including the 17 million hungry children. Please spread the word about ending child hunger, and if you find it in your heart, consider making a donation to Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry, no matter how large or small. Just $1 can connect a child to 10 healthy meals, and $25 provides 3 meals a day for a child for 3 months. Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry helped provide 4.5 million more meals to needy children in 2009.
I hope you enjoy my Pomegranate Poached Pear recipe, but even more importantly, I hope you will help spread the word on childhood hunger so we can help solve this crisis together. If you want to tweet about this campaign, please use this hashtag #NoKidHungry.
Pomegranate Poached Pears
Poached pears are typically poached in red wine, sugar and spices. This recipe contains no added sugar, and the spices in this recipe give it an Asian twist. The orange cashew cream is so rich and luscious, no one will even realize it’s vegan. The poaching liquid can be saved and used for another batch of poached pears.
- 3 ripe but firm bosc pears, peeled
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 3 cups organic grape juice
- zest and juice from 1 clementine orange
- 2” piece fresh ginger, sliced
- 3 star anise
- 3 black cardamom pods
- 2 whole cloves
- One 3” stick cinnamon
Orange Cashew Cream:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup clementine orange juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (vegan) or honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- Pistachio nuts and Pomegranate Seeds, for garnish as desired
Soak cashew nuts in a bowl of water for 1 hour.
|Pre-soaking Cashews Ensures A Smooth, Creamy Texture|
Slice the round bottom of the pear so the pears will stand up for presentation.
|Cut The Bottom Off The Pears So They Stand Up|
Remove pears from poaching liquid and let pears and liquid cool.
|Gorgeous Poached Pears Straight From The Pot|
Pears can be served or placed in a container with the cooled poaching liquid overnight. Pears will become darker the longer they soak in the poaching liquid.
If desired, you may reduce some of the poaching liquid until it is syrupy and thickened. To reduce poaching liquid, place one cup of poaching liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until it becomes syrupy and reaches the desired consistency.To make Orange Cashew Cream, place drained cashew nuts, orange juice, honey and water in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
|Orange Cashew Cream is rich and decadent|
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve poached pears with Orange Cashew Cream and reduced poaching liquid, garnished with pistachios and pomegranate seeds if you like. There are so many possibilities.
|An elegant presentation|
|A Bite-Size Dessert Idea|