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A recipe for silky prosecco wine-poached pears, with creamy whipped vanilla bean ricotta.
Prosecco poached pears are a great winter dessert, and kind of sexy too.
For one thing, you have to admit pears have the most voluptuous form in the fruit world, with the possible exception of peaches and figs.
And for another thing: who can say no to prosecco?
Poached pears with a slice of lemon cake has to be one of the best dessert combinations ever, in my opinion.
But they’re just as nice all by themselves or better yet – served with a side of creamy whipped ricotta flavored with vanilla bean.
I’m always glad to meet and eat a pear, whether for a simple dessert or a snack.
They hold up much better in cold storage than apples, and pears seem to be created for poaching in wine, their flesh turning silky smooth and luscious.
Instead of ricotta, you have the option to add a little whipped cream or mascarpone.
Tips for poaching pears:
- The best white wines for poaching pears are light and fruity. You don’t need to use prosecco for this recipe — use your favorite sparkling wine or an off-dry white wine like riesling or moscato.
- The best pears for poaching are Bartlett, Bosc or miniature Seckel pears. Choose fruit that isn’t too ripe or soft – the pears should yield just slightly near the stem.
- Serve the poached pears with a slice of lemon cornmeal cake instead of the cookies.
- You can make the poached pears and keep refrigerated up to 5 days ahead.
Prosecco Poached Pears with Vanilla Ricotta
- 1 ½ cups (360 ml) prosecco or dry white wine
- 1 cup (240 ml) water
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 2 3-inch long strips lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 4 pears, not quite ripe, peeled
- 8 ounces (225 g) whole milk ricotta
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Biscotti or shortbread cookies
- Whisk prosecco, water and sugar in a saucepan just wide enough to hold the pears. Place the pan over medium heat and continue whisking until sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and the pears.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until pears give no resistance when pierced with a paring knife, 30-40 minutes, gently turn the pears in the syrup a few times as they cook.
- Cool the pears in the syrup to room temperature. The pears can be covered and chilled in the refrigerator up to 3 days before serving.
- Beat ricotta in a bowl with the sugar until lightened and smooth. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the ricotta and stir.
- Serve the pears in shallow bowls with a little of the syrup spooned over them. Put a generous spoonful ricotta alongside each pear. Break the biscotti or shortbread into large pieces and place on the side of the bowl.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- I used small, firm Bartlett pears. You can use another variety of green pear or russet-colored Bosc, just be sure they’re not too ripe and soft or they’ll get mushy when cooked.
- Cooking time could vary depending on the size of the pears, but count on at least 30 minutes.