Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Pear Parfait

So Richard and I were watching the food network this morning (shocking, I know) and Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello was on. Normally I kind of think he's kind of a schmuck, but today he was preparing this "winter pear" dessert that I must say- looked irresistible.

Cheap, easy, and totally festive; I couldn't not share it with everyone.

Ingredients (to serve 6)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • a pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 red Bartlett pears
  • 3 Comice or Bosc pears
  • 1/4 pound almond or vanilla flavored Italian biscotti
  • 1/2 pound mascarpone cheese

Combine sugar, vinegar, pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a bowl. Mix well to incorporate. Let stand for 15 minutes.

In the meantime cut the pears (skin on) into thin wedges with the seeds and stem removed. A good trick is to halve the fruit then use a melon-baller to scoop out the seeds. Then just trim both ends.

Place pears in a mixing bowl and carefully mix. When the balsamic-sugar mixture is ready, pour over the fruit and mix gently to coat evenly. Gently crush the biscotti into 6 serving bowls. Divide the pears into each dish then top with a dollop of the mascarpone cheese.

A few tweaking notes, as always..
  • At 9pm in Mesa, AZ biscotti is not so easy to come by. Instead, we used French Vanilla Pirouette's. This was definitely a "tweak" and not a compromise. Those things are delicious!
  • We used 4 different kinds of pears. The difference in texture and flavor was great!
  • I served them in martini glasses using the pirouettes as straws. It was a fun way to present them and allowed you to see all the beautiful colors.
AND an alternate idea...

So, mascarpone by itself is a little too cheesy and gummy for me on a dessert. (Richard disagrees. In fact, he might be licking it out of the tub right now...) So, I like to make a little "mascarpone cream" instead.

Take half a tub of mascarpone (about 1/2 pound), 1/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract. Throw in the blender (or hand mix) for about a minute.

It should be the consistency of sour cream.

Prep time for the whole thing is less than 20 minutes! Enjoy!


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