Alain's Poires au Vin

I love the easy elegance of wine-soaked pears (my photos don't do it justice). One of my go-to desserts for serving company, this make-ahead recipe has a holiday feel to it. The first time I tried pears poached in wine sauce was for a special New Year's dinner with my French host family. Michèle’s brother Alain was hosting in his tiny but charming apartment. I remember skeptically eyeing the dessert when he first brought it out (what do you mean there's no chocolate?). After one bite, I felt a little silly for being so close-minded. C'était délicieux! The pears had absorbed much of the sugar and the wine sauce was sweet with just a hint of cinnamon spice. If you have any leftover sauce at the end, consider yourself lucky, because it tastes delicious on top of ice cream. Alain actually served his pears with a scoop of ice cream, which I would highly recommend.

poached-pears-ingreds.jpg

I emailed Alain asking for the recipe and here is his reply, with the loosely translated recipe:

Hello les USA!!!!!!! Voici la recette des Poires au Vin:

Choisis des bonnes poires parfumées mais fermes.

Select pears that are firm but fragrant.

Je les fais cuire, épluchées mais entières dans un litre de vin rouge.

Peel them but leave them whole. Boil them in about 1 L. of wine. Note : I used a bottle (0.75 L) and that seemed to make plenty of sauce for 5 pears.

Tu ajoutes 250g de sucre, 4 bâtons de cannelle, 4 étoiles de badiane, et 4 clous de girofle, de la vanille.

Stir in roughly one cup of sugar, 4 cinnamon sticks, 4 star anise, 4 cloves and a dash of vanilla.

Tu fais bouillir doucement environ 45 mn... Les poires doivent être fondantes mais entières.

Let mixture simmer gently for about 45 minutes. The pears should be soft but still whole.

Tu les fais refroidir avec leur jus de cuisson.

Refrigerate the pears and the wine sauce. Note : If you have the space you can just put the whole pot in the fridge.

wine-soaked-pears.jpg

Et au moment de servir tu rajoutes une boule de glace vanille, façon Paul BOCUSE.

And just before serving, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

It'will be perfect!!! Cet hiver est extraordinairement doux à Montpellier... le 1er janvier nous avons bu un pot, place de la comédie en t-shirt! Les américaines du nord devaient être à la plage... private joke! Je te souhaite de pouvoir retourner vivre un temps à Paris... Il te reste tant de choses à voir en Europe. Bravo pour ton français écrit, c'est parfait! bisous à +

I love that this recipe looks impressive but is actually super easy to make. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

-Stephanie