Procrastination, Port, and Pears / by Anne

port braised pears

Ways to Procrastinate in the Kitchen:

  • Clean it
  • Sort beans for photo shoot
  • Forget what you were just doing
  • Start several projects simultaneously -- this can slow you down considerably if you try hard enough
  • Tend to your crying toddler
  • Talk on the phone while trying to read a recipe
  • Try to find something in the back of the fridge
  • Ignore the fact that you're about to feed 65 people in two days and instead read your new chocolate tempering machine manual (!!!). Again.

Ways to Augment Existing Joy in Kitchen While Actually Cooking

  • Listen to music that makes you happy
  • Think about how beautiful the food is while you cook it
  • Get your toddler involved in a "cooking" project (squeeze bottle filled with water, plus pastry brush, plus measuring cups, then ignore mess) while you also cook
  • Make something that smells amazing, like port-braised pears

This pear recipe is lovely.  It's so simple that you can memorize it, and yet it's the epitome of elegance.  Five ingredients.  You can make it ahead of time.  It's also versatile--goes well with ice cream, cheesecake, pound cake, cookies, chocolate--and it's not too heavy.  It's hard to mess it up.  If I had a star rating for recipes, this one would be a whole mess of stars. 

Port-Braised Pears

Modified from The Art & Soul of Baking.  I used less sugar than the recipe called for.  You could add even less and still have a sweet dessert.  This recipe will keep well for several days in the refrigerator.  The longer it sits, the more it takes on the color of the port.  Beautiful!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ruby port
  • 3 T sugar
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 3-inch long strip of lemon zest
  • 4 Bosc pears, crisp-ripe

Directions:

In a large saute pan, stir together the port, sugar, honey, and lemon zest over medium-low heat.   Check it every few minutes, giving it a good stir to ensure the sugar dissolves.

As the port mixture is warming up, peel, core and slice the pears.  It is very fun--and attractive!--to use a melon baller on pear halves to remove the seeds.  Slice each pear into eight slices.

With the pan still on medium-low heat, pour the pears in and gently spoon sauce over the pears.  Cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Depending on the ripeness of your fruit, this time could vary from 10 to 20 minutes.  When the pears are tender and easily pierced with a fork, remove them to a bowl with a slotted spoon.  Remove lemon zest and discard.

Increase the temperature to high and reduce the sauce until it is very syrupy.  Pour sauce over the pears and let them cool to room temperature to serve, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

Makes about 8 servings, more or less, depending on your dessert choice.

port bubbles