A recipe for silky and seductive prosecco 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 cake are one of the best dessert combinations ever, but they’re just as nice all by themselves or with a side of whipped creamy ricotta enhanced with vanilla bean.
I’m always glad to meet and eat a pear. 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, there’s nothing wrong with a little whipped cream or mascarpone, lightly sweetened and flecked with vanilla beans.
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 plain cake instead of the cookies.
- You can make the poached pears and keep refrigerated up to 5 days ahead.
prosecco poached pears and vanilla bean ricotta
Yield 4 servings
I use small, firm Bartlett pears. You can use another variety of green pear or russet-colored Bosc, just be sure they're not too ripe 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.
- 1 1/2 cups prosecco or dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 3-inch long strips lemon zest
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- 4 pears, not quite ripe; peeled
- 8 ounces whole milk ricotta
- 2 tablespoons 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 and 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.
Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
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