Crinkly Baked Whole Pears

This dessert is adapted from a recipe in Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts (Chapters, 1994). In contrast to poires au vin rouge, where pears are poached in red wine syrup, here they are left unpeeled and baked long and slow. At the end, their wrinkly surface looks remarkably like Laura Baring-Gould’s pears cast in bronze.

Makes 8 servings

     1 cup red or rosé wine, dry or fortified

     ½ cup sugar 

     1 2-inch strip lemon zest

     2 tablespoons lemon juice

     1 tablespoon sliced ginger, either fresh

        gingerroot or preserved stem ginger

     2 whole cloves

     3 allspice berries

     1 1-inch cinnamon stick

     8 firm ripe pears such as Bosc, unpeeled and

        stems on

Preheat the oven to 300°.

In an ovenproof dish (a Pyrex 8”x 8” baking dish is perfect), mix the wine with the lemon and spices. Stand the pears in the dish and put the dish in the oven. Cook the pears for two hours or more, basting with the syrup from time to time. Gradually they will become crinkly on the outside, tender on the inside. Do not pick them up by the stem. If they are not yet crinkly after two hours or more, you can turn off the oven and leave them inside to cook further in the falling heat.

Serve the pears warm or room temperature bathed in the syrup.