In September I attended Grace-Marie’s Sizzlin’ Spanish Paella cooking class, which culminated with this Sangria Glazed Caramelized Pear & Honey Almond Cream dessert. I love to go to her classes because the food is so beautiful and I get to take marvelous photographs. It helps that my camera is a wizard, I realize. I am just the finger that pushes the button.
First the cut side of the pear halves are caramelized in butter and brown sugar, leaving the pear still firm to the touch. The caramelized brown sugar butter will later be poured over the cooked pears, as you can see in the top photograph.
Meanwhile the Sangria Glaze is cooked to a syrup from Spanish red wine, pomegranate juice, sugar, sherry, orange and lemon slices and seasoned with a cinnamon stick and whole cloves. Can’t you just smell it?
The plates are sauced with the Sangria Glaze and a Vanilla Honey Almond Cream. You could make your own Crème Anglais, or this wonderful adaptation with fine Vanilla ice cream mixed with honey and almond extract. The final plate has the caramelized pear framed with the sauces and garnished with mint and Marcona almonds. This would be a beautiful dessert for your holiday celebrations. And everything could be made ahead of time and quickly assembled. What could be better?
For additional recipes from Grace-Marie’s Kitchen, look under Categories in the right-hand column.
Sangria Glazed Caramelized Pears & Honey Almond Cream
3 cups Dry Spanish Red Wine
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup Spanish Sherry or Brandy
1 medium orange, halved, thinly sliced
½ small lemon, thinly sliced
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1. Combine wine, pomegranate juice, sugar, sherry, orange, lemon, cinnamon stick and cloves in a tall saucepan. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce to a simmer. Cook until thick like honey (30+minutes).
Note: As the syrup begins to thicken, be careful as it will concentrate quickly and can scorch!
2. Cool in pan until room temperature, then strain and discard any solid particles. Keep at room temperature if using within the day; otherwise, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using.
1 pint vanilla ice cream, melted to room temperature (premium quality, such as Haagen-Dazs)
3 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon almond extract
1. Blend together the melted ice cream, honey and almond extract. Refrigerate until read to use.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
4 medium pears, halved and cored
1. Warm butter and brown sugar in a large skillet over medium heat. Arrange pear halves, cut side down, onto skillet.
2. Cook until caramelized on the cut side, but still firm (5+ minutes). Remove from skillet and transfer to a platter. Cut off a small slice of the rounded bottom, so it will sit flat and not slide around. Spoon the caramelized sugar over each pear, filling the core wells. Pears can be served either warm or room temperature.
To garnish: mint springs, and toasted sliced almonds or Marcona almonds
1. Drizzle a spoonful of the Sangria Glaze over half of each serving plate. Spoon the Honey Almond Cream over the other half. Place a pear half, cut side up, onto plate. Garnish with mint and almonds, and serve.