Recipe of the Week
Raspberry Pears with Chocolate Sauce
2 cups cranberry/raspberry juice
1/2 cup port wine (optional)
1/2 cup raspberry syrup (use 1 cup if port wine is omitted)
3 2″ x 1″ strips of lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large firm pears (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1/4 cup sliced almonds
In a 4-quart saucepan, combine cranberry/raspberry juice, port wine, raspberry syrup, lemon zest, the 1/4 cup sugar, and the vanilla. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving the stems intact. With a paring knife cutting through the bottom of the pear, remove the inside core.
Add pears to the saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, turning the pears occasionally, 15-20 minutes or until pears are tender when touched with the tip of a sharp knife.
Remove from heat and let pears cool in the liquid. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to overnight for more brilliant color.
Remove the pears from the liquid. Discard the poaching liquid.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, cornstarch and two tablespoons of sugar. Whisk in the water and place the pan over high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until just thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in the chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Stir in the chocolate syrup. Let cool.
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, until lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a bowl to prevent overbrowning.
To serve, place a tablespoon of chocolate sauce on each serving plate and tip to coat bottom of plate. Stand pear in middle of plate and sprinkle almonds on the plate around base of the pear.
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