In the beginning of the week I made a chocolate cake and ended up taking the whole thing to work next day to share with colleagues. By Friday the little light bulb above my head lit up and brought me to a realization that it was about time to try out something completely different than cakes!
And this thought exactly brings me to a recent unforgettable culinary experience. Namely, a few weeks ago while on holiday in Phuket I had dinner in Patong at a restaurant called 9th Floor (totally recommend it!). The answer to my last weeks craving was right there on the menu of that establishment - a dessert from pears in red wine! Since I've always wanted to try something like this then I ordered this one without a shadow of a doubt even though the dessert menu had some other extremely appetizing things on it. The experience was simply unearthly - I died and went to heaven right there and then. Some might even refer to it as orgasmic. Well, whichever explanation gives you a better idea. All in all, it was definitely the best dessert I have tried in a very long time, excluding of course the sticky rice with mango.
Although I have no idea how they made this at the 9th Floor, I tried to copy it with the following recipe:
750-ml bottle dry red wine
2 cups sugar (you may want to add less, if you prefer less sweet)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
4 firm but ripe pears, peeled, stems left intact
1 pint chocolate ice cream (I had one with chocolate and mint)
Combine first 6 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to simmer. Add pears and return mixture to simmer.
Reduce heat and simmer slowly until pears are tender when pierced with knife, about 25 minutes. Transfer pears to plate. Boil liquid in saucepan until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill pears in poaching liquid.) You can rewarm it before serving or eat them cold. I prefer the cold version.
Arrange 1 pear and 1 scoop of ice cream on a plate. Drizzle some poaching liquid over. Garnish with orange peel strips, if desired, and serve.
Original unmodified recipe available at Epicurious, click here.
My overall comment is that I liked it a lot, although it did not reach the levels of my heavenly culinary experience at the 9th Floor. I think what I will do next time is marinade the pears and experiment more with different spices, since for a dessert this is a magnificent choice and well deserves trying out again! And I think it might go quite well with cheese.. as a starter with goat cheese, perhaps? There's definitely something to experiment with!