Just in time for Valentine’s Day, my favorite winter dessert — pears gently poached in red wine with crème de cassis, rosemary, vanilla, black peppercorns, or other spices. It’s light, it’s bright, it’s meltingly tender. Like (we hope) like the heart of our loved one. You can serve poires au vin on their own, with a macaron or cookie alongside, or with vanilla ice cream. Fabulous!
Poires au vin et cassis / Pears in red wine and cassis
Now here’s a little lore. This dish is also known as poires à la beaujolaise, presumably because Beaujolais was the wine traditionally used for making it. These days, you don’t need to spring for a Beaujolais — any drinkable dry-to-fruity red wine will do. The cassis (black currant liqueur) is essential, but opinions differ on spices. Patricia Wells, for instance, recommends cinnamon and lemon juice, while Paul Bocuse likes cinnamon, cloves, orange juice and grated orange peel. There are probably as many ways of making poires au vin as there are cooks in France. I omit the cinnamon and cloves in order to enjoy the full intensity of the pears. The dish is very easy, so you can experiment.
Update for Parisians: I will be reading from my memoir, Desperate to Be a Housewife, this Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m. The Parler Paris Après-Midi event is hosted by Adrian Leeds, who has asked me to chat about the book — but also about how I started this cooking blog! Here’s the address: 96 Rue des Archives, on the corner of Rue de Bretagne, in the 3rd. Please come along if you can. It should be fun. And in the meantime, happy cooking!