Traditional Spanish dessert “Peras al vino” or Pears in Red Wine is the best of two worlds; fruits and wine merging into a sweet, spiced and colorful dessert that couldn’t be easier to make.
This dessert comes from the Spanish region of Rioja, which is well known for its deep red wines. I don’t know for you but I’m a wino and this dessert is so refreshing, for once… a dessert without tons of flour, sugar or fat in it and frankly it taste simply divine. Plus, it’s terribly easy to make and can be prepared in advance.
Which type of pear?
Well… for this particular recipe Spaniards traditionally use “pera conferencia” , but any pear type that is holding good, not too filled with water, nor too porous or mature should do, so pick a firm pear of your choice at the Farmer’s Market.
A fairly common dessert in Spain, most people spice it up with cinnamon although others use vanilla, lemon peel, ginger, cardamom, anise star, cloves or peppercorn. As for this version, my own personal blend of spices is the usual cinnamon stick plus an organic lemon peel, anise star and a few peppercorns.
The final result isn’t tasting much wine at all, it’s more of a lightly spiced up grape syrup, because most the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process. As for the ruby red finish, it’s also a personal preference of mine, I’ve used brown sugar for deeper color and taste but white sugar is doing the trick too.
Cold or warm?
This dessert is traditionally eaten cold, it macerates for hours in the wine base to merge up all those flavors to perfection. Although, I like mine warm, served on the spot. It brings an extra comfort to the dish and unlike sangria… where you want the wine and fruits to merge perfectly by macerating for hours… here, I personally like this contraste of fresh interior flesh of the pear covered with a warm sweet and comforting syrup. Either Way, served cold or hot, you won’t be wrong.
Let’s make this easy boozy Spanish dessert!
Pear in Red Wine
- 4 pears (firm without much water type)
- 500ml (2 cups) of red wine (Rioja)
- 150g brown sugar (or white)
- 1 anise star
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 small peel of an organic lemon
- a few black peppercorns
- Add all the ingredients to a sauce pan, except the pears, and bring to a simmer
- Peel the pears, from the top to keep the tip intact and cut off the bottom in order for the pear to stay up by themselves
- Add them to the simmering wine and let them cook for 30 minutes, turning them gently mid-way
- Take out the pears and the reachable aromatics and reserve
- Reduce by half the wine mix for about 5 minutes to become a light syrup
- Serve warm as it is (The FoodOlic’s way) or traditionally you would leave the pears marinate in the syrup for a few hours covered in the fridge before serving.