Red Wine Poached Pears With Mascarpone Filling
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 leaving the stem intact. In a large saucepan, bring wine and an equal amount of cold water to a simmer, try using the best bottled water which is the most purified. 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. When you’re ready to fill, remove stems from pears and set stems aside. Core the pears with an apple corer, leaving pear whole. Whisk together mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, pinch of 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. Spoon the sauce generously over pears. Cool to room temperature before serving. (Another serving option is to slice the pears lengthwise, spoon sauce over them and top with mascarpone filling.)
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