Monday, May 25, 2009
I find pears tricky. How can you tell when they're ripe? I've bitten into too many crunchy pears to trust my sense of what looks ripe for a pear. And what about when they start to feel soft and maybe have a bruise or two? Then they're over the pear event horizon. Take a bite and it's mealy. Euww. A perfectly ripe, juicy pear is a splendid thing, but a bit of a gamble to find.
When my daughter sent me this recipe and raved about it, I hesitated. Pear soup. Really? Soup seems so...winterish. And pears seem so fallish. So why would I want to make a soup for spring? Well, it's a dessert soup, served cold, and it's really lovely. Lightly sweet, redolent of pear flavor with enough wine flavor to make it interesting. And since the pear is cooked, it doesn't have to be perfect. Zero guesswork involved.
The soup is a snap to put together, so you can make it early in the day and chill it for dinner. For the lazy warm days coming up when you don't want to go to a lot of trouble in the kitchen, grill something easy and then ladle up bowls of this delicious soup for dessert. You'll feel like you hit the jackpot!
Red Wine and Pear Soup
1 cup red wine (use something you like, as you'll taste it)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 fully ripe pears (1 1/2 pounds) peeled, cored, and each cut into quarters
1- In 2 quart saucepan, heat red wine, sugar, and 1 cup water to boiling over high heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar.
2- Meanwhile, with vegetable peeler or small sharp knife, remove two 3 inch strips peel from lemon. Juice the lemon and strain it to remove seeds.
3- Add pears and lemon peel to saucepan; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until pears are very tender. Remove the pan from the heat and discard lemon peel. Allow mixture to cool for 10 to 20 minutes.
4- In blender at low speed (with center part of lid removed), blend pear mixture in batches until smooth. Transfer to bowl; stir in lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate soup at least four hours, or until very cold.
5- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle cream over the top as a garnish.