Red Wine–Poached Pears with Gorgonzola

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Plump nuggets of creamy Gorgonzola and crisp, earthy walnuts strewn over wine-soaked pears make an understated, sophisticated dessert. I like to serve the pears with plain biscotti, both for dipping into the juice and for spreading with the cheese, and glasses of sherry.

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe but firm pears such as Bosc or Anjou, about lb (750 g) total weight
  • cups (12 fl oz/375 ml) dry red wine such as Merlot or Pinot Noir
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ lb (125 g) soft Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 cup (4 oz/125 g) walnut halves, left whole or coarsely chopped

Method

Cut the pears in half lengthwise, leaving the stem intact on one half, then core them, making a small round cavity (a melon baller works well). Cut out the string that runs down the center from the stem to the cavity. Halve or quarter the pear halves lengthwise, or slice thinly.

In a frying pan or saucepan large enough to hold the pears in a single layer, combine the wine and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Raise the heat to high and cook until a thin syrup forms, 3–4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the pears, and poach, turning the pears several times, until they are just tender, 15–20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the pears or they will be mushy.

Transfer the pears and poaching liquid to a nonreactive bowl and let stand for several hours at room temperature, turning the pears occasionally. They will become a deep garnet as they absorb the wine.

To serve, divide the pears among 8 individual plates. Place an equal amount of Gorgonzola on top of each serving, breaking the cheese into pieces, and spoon some of the poaching liquid around the pears. Sprinkle with the walnuts, and serve at once.

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