Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Brandy
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 small bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
2 Bosc pears, peeled, halved, and cored
2 tablespoons Calvados apple brandy
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 ounces Cabrales blue cheese or other blue cheese, crumbled
In a 3-quart saucepan combine wine, sugar, apple juice concentrate, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Add pear halves; heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until tender, turning pears once.
Remove pears to a bowl and set aside. Discard bay leaf and peppercorns from cooking liquid. Stir in apple brandy. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat about 10 minutes or until syrupy (mixture will be reduced to about 1/3 cup). Cool slightly (8 to 10 minutes). Whisk in butter until melted. Stir in whipping cream.
To serve, place one pear half in each of four dessert dishes. Fill each pear cavity with cheese; spoon sauce over and around pears. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.
Photograph: Peter Krumhardt