Saturday, September 8, 2012


Pears (and a few lemons) from my neighbor's garden.
Before they’re even ripe, the pears on my neighbor’s trees attract big jay birds that peck at the fruit. To save the crop, we’re picking the pears early. But after a week on a sunny table, they still haven’t begun to soften. I cut up some of them and made a batch of pear chutney. Now I’m making a Spanish dessert by simmering the pears in wine.

No, not red wine, as in the classic French way. These pears are cooked in sweet Málaga wine.

Wine label.
Málaga wine is made from Pedro Ximénez and Muscatel grapes that are “raisinified,” or sun-dried, before pressing, a process which intensifies the sugars. Sometimes called “liquid raisin,” it is a delightful dessert wine, but also goes nicely with toasted almonds, cheeses, sausage.

Málaga wine, Málaga raisins.
Serve Málaga wine, chilled, in liqueur glasses, Sherry copas or over ice. Diluted with soda water, it makes a nice tall drink. In the kitchen, sweet Málaga is a good addition to pork and chicken dishes, especially if balanced with a little vinegar.

I cooked the pears in the wine, with the addition of cinnamon, clove and lemon zest, until they were tender when tested with a skewer. As the wine is sweet, I didn’t add sugar. And, because the compote reminds me somewhat of another dessert cooked in wine must, arrope (that recipe is here), I added some chunks of pumpkin to the pears. Slivers of toasted almonds (the almonds also from my neighbor’s garden) made a crunchy topping.

The fruit is lovely topped with whipped cream or, my choice, dollops of unsweetened Greek yogurt.

Pears, pumpkin and raisins simmered in sweet Málaga wine.

Peras al Vino de Málaga
Pears in Málaga Wine

Serves 6.

2 pounds firm pears, about 10
   (or 1 pound pears and 1 pound pumpkin)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sugar (optional)
2-inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 strip lemon zest
¼ cup Moscatel raisins
½ cup sweet Málaga wine
½ cup water
¼ cup almonds, blanched, skinned, toasted and slivered
Greek yogurt, to serve, if desired

Peel the pears, core them and cut in halves or quarters. If using pumpkin, remove skin and seeds and cut it into chunks. Place the fruit in a pan and toss with lemon juice. Add sugar, if using, cinnamon stick, cloves, lemon zest, raisins, wine and water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the pears are tender when tested with a skewer, about 35 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. As Pears season now approaching here in Asia, I will gonna try this recipe. IT looks yummy!