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Food: Pears baked in red wine and vanilla; (serves four).

ingredients 4 ripe pears 55g/2oz unsalted butter 100g/3 112 oz caster sugar 2 vanilla pods, split in half lengthways grated zest of / 4 orange 500ml/18floz red wine (Cabernet) 4 tablespoons creme fraichemethodPreheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 3. Wash and dry the pears, then cut a small slice from the bottom of each so it can stand upright. Smear the butter all over them and sprinkle with two tablespoons of the sugar.

Mix the remaining sugar with enough water (1-1 1 / 2 tablespoons) to make a paste. Place in a heavy-based flameproof pot large enough to hold the pears upright. Heat until the sugar paste turns a light golden colour. Add the vanilla pods, zest and half the red wine. Place the pears upright in the pot and transfer to the oven.

Bake, spooning the red wine sauce over the pears at frequent intervals until the pear is soft and the syrup is reduced,about 45 minutes.

Add more wine if the liquid reduces too much.

The pear is cooked when the flesh is soft and the outside slightly wrinkled. Remove from the oven and cool in the pot to room temperature. To serve,drizzle the syrup over the pears and add a spoonful of creme fraiche.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 6, 2004
Words:212
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