Warm pear dessert for a cold day
This is something I dreamed up last year for a small dinner party. It was very well received and I have made it a couple of times since. The good thing is that you can use pears that are still too hard to eat, which they often are when you first buy them. It does take a long time to cook (particularly if the pears are hard), but you put it on before dinner and don't have to pay too much attention to it, and then serve it hot from the pan for dessert.
half a pear per person
2-3 cinnamon sticks
5-6 whole cloves
splash of brandy or grand marnier (optional)
enough plain yogurt for a big spoonful for each serving
couple dashes of cinnamon
honey or maple syrup to taste (optional)
Peel the pears, cut in quarters and remove the core and stem. Place in a pan so that all the pear pieces are lying on the bottom, not piled up. Cover with apple juice, toss in cinnamon sticks and cloves, add the brandy if using, and bring up to a simmer. Simmer on low heat for 40-60 minutes, keep adding apple juice whenever the liquid level reduces to a low level. At the end of the cooking you should have a medium thick syrup left over with the pears (somewhere around the consistency of good maple syrup). Remove the whole spices (biting into cloves is nasty). Add the cinnamon and sweetner to the yogurt and give it a good stir. Put two pear quarters into each individual serving dish. Portion out the remaining syrup so that everyone gets a little in their bowls. Top with a big spoonful of the yogurt mixture and garnish with a sprig of mint, or a cute little edible flower, or a bit of orange zest or another dash of cinnamon (completely optional, just for visual effect).
This is really tasty, the ingredients are cheap and it is very simple to prepare, just don't let the syrup reduce too much and burn. It also smells really good so your guests will be eagerly awaiting it by the time dessert rolls around.