Traditional Spanish dessert “Pera’s al vino,” or Mulled Wine Poached Pears, is the best of two worlds; fruits and wine merging into an easy and tasty bite.
This dessert comes from the Spanish region of Rioja, which is well known for its deep red wines. These Mulled Wine Poached Pears are easy to make and don’t need much preparation. A must-know dessert that is gluten-free, egg, lactose and nut free too. Plus, you can make them ahead to let you concentrate on the rest of the feast.
Which Type of Pear?
For this particular recipe, Spaniards traditionally use “Pera Conferencia,” but it will be hard to find if you are in America. So any pear type holding good, not too filled with water, nor too porous should do. So pick a firm pear of your choice at the Farmer’s Market.
Most people in Spain spice it up with cinnamon, although others use vanilla, orange or lemon peel, ginger, cardamom, anise star, cloves or peppercorn. As for this version, my favourite blend of spices is the usual cinnamon stick plus an organic lemon peel, anise star and a few peppercorns. But this is up to your pantry to decide!
Type of Wine and Sugar
The final result isn’t tasting much wine; it’s more of a lightly spiced-up grape syrup because most alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process. I’ve used a Rioja wine for this recipe to have a whole body and authenticity, but it could be any wine.
As for the ruby red finish, I’ve used brown sugar for a deeper colour and taste, but white sugar is doing the trick too.
Cold or Warm?
This dessert is traditionally eaten cold but sometimes warm too; it macerates for hours in the wine to absorb all those flavours to perfection. Although, I prefer to eat it warm, served on the spot. It brings extra comfort to the dish and warmth on a cold winter night. In restaurants, you’ll see them swimming in a jar of wine at room temperature. Either Way, served cold, lukewarm or hot, you won’t be wrong; they are all great.
As mentioned, leave the pears in the wine covered with a film in the fridge. Or sterilize a pot and add them to it, like a conserve. But cut the heart first if you intend to keep them for long in the fridge.
To Serve with
Usually, you eat them alone, as it is, but some people like a little Creme Patissiere whipped cream or ice cream next to it!
Mulled Wine Poached Pears
- 4 pears
- 500 ml red wine
- 150 g brown sugar (or white)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 anis star
- 1 lemon peel
- black peppercorn
- Add all the ingredients except the pears to a saucepan, medium-low heat, and bring to a simmer.
- Peel the pears from the top to keep the tip intact, and cut off the bottom for the pear to stay on a plate.
- Add them to the gently boiling wine and cook for 30 minutes, turning them gently mid-way.
- Serve warm as it is, or traditionally you would leave the pears in the syrup for a few hours covered in the fridge before serving.
- Serve with a spoon or two of the mulled wine.