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Poires pochées au vin rouge (pears in red wine)

This is a recipe for cooking pears, or for pears which are too hard for eating. It makes a delicious, spicy dessert which is best cold and will keep in the fridge for a day or two.

 3 medium-sized hard pears
 1/3 litre (nearly half a bottle) of cheap red wine
 The zest of one orange
 One stick of cinnamon or a dessertspoonful of powder
 One clove
 Two dessertspoonfuls of honey
 One teaspoonful of vanilla essence


1 Pour the wine into a medium sized stainless steel saucepan.
 2 Remove the zest of the orange using a potato peeler.
 3 Add the zest and the spices to the wine and heat it gently
 4 When the wine is warm add the honey and stir in.
 5 Peel the pears and cut them into quarters, removing the stems and cores.
 6 Put the pear quarters into the wine and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, allowing the steam to escape. The pears will turn deep crimson.
 7 Test the pears with the point of a kitchen knife. When they do not resist the knife they are ready.
 8 Tip everything into a casserole dish, cover, cool and keep in the fridge until the following day.
 9 Serve with the wine sauce and fresh cream or plain yogurt. Délicieux!