Your farmer brings you a bunch of Asian pears and apples, I mean really, what else is there to do with them then soak them in some booze? OK, yeh, I know, predictable – another blog post that I start out talking about my CSA. Snore! But, to be honest, every single week that box of goodies that shows up on my doorstep, delivered by my farmer himself, and it inspires me and my cooking in so many ways. Every Wednesday, I feel like I am on a game show, where a mystery box shows up and I have to get creative with whatever I am given.
Sure I could have just eaten the apples and pears straight up, but where is the fun in that? Plus, I have to assume if I am getting apples and pears in my weekly box, other folks are too, and they might want some fun ideas on how to prepare them. It doesn’t get much more fun than these Red Wine Poached Apples and Pears with Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream.
A friend of ours, John, works in the “wine biz” up in LA. What he exactly does, I am not 100% totally sure, but what I am sure of is that he gave me a huge case of some really nice wines the last time I saw him – so he is A-OK in my book. These days I don’t do a ton of drinking, if we have guests or it’s a special occasion, maybe, but generally I drink very little at home. But, cooking with wine, that’s far more my speed.
Bing that our CSA is totally organic and grown locally without the use of pesticides and other stuff, it isn’t always the “prettiest” produce, there are imperfections and bruises. To me that is what makes me love it all that much more! Perfect imperfections and perfect for soaking in red wine.
When these gorgeous apples and the Asian pears were staring back at me from our CSA box on the floor of my kitchen, the big case of wine next to it, all I could think about was the fall. Mulled wine, spiced cider, pies, cobblers, crisps, oh my! The idea for this treat was inspired by my love of mulled wine and the various warm fruit desserts, the fall is notorious for. The soft, warm bite of the poached apples and pears, plus the spiced, warming, slightly sweet, comforting flavors of a mulled robust red wine – all topped with the cool whipped (coconut) cream infused with honey, cinnamon and vanilla bean. I was seriously dancing around the kitchen after I took the first bite!! It’s that good!
[print_this]Red Wine Poached Apples and Pears with Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream (Gluten-free and Vegan)
serves up to 8
- 1 lb firm tart-sweet apples and firm ripe asian pears
- 1 1/2 cups red wine (shiraz, syrah or zinfandel)
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar, raw sugar or granular sweetener of your choice
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 2 cups water
Cinnamon Whipped Coconut Cream
- 1 can full fat organic coconut milk, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
- 2 tablespoons honey (use maple syrup to be vegan)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Combine wine, sugar, orange juice, orange peel, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and 2 cups water in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. While that is heating up, peel, halve and core the apples and pears.
Add apples and pears to the wine mixture; reduce the heat to low and simmer, occasionally rotating the apples and pears, until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 25–30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples and pears to a plate and set aside. Strain poaching liquid from the pan into a small saucepan, discarding solids in strainer. Set saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until poaching liquid becomes syrupy and is reduced to about 3/4 cup, this take about 15-20 minutes. The syrup will thicken as it cools.
Whipped Coconut Cream: Make sure that your can of coconut milk is well chilled. I recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight. Open the can of coconut milk carefully, keeping it level. There will be a firm, waxy layer of coconut cream that solidified on top. Carefully scoop this off into a chilled glass bowl. Keep the leftover coconut water, it is great for smoothies.
Using a mixer, whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy, with soft peaks. Mix in your honey, cinnamon and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean.
Serve the warm apples and pears with a dollop of whipped coconut cream on top. Drizzle the spiced wine reduction syrup over. Enjoy.[/print_this]