6 Bosc pears
1 750 ml bottle red table wine
2 cups granulated sugar
3 whole star anise OR 2 tablespoons Chinese Five Spice powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sliced untoasted almonds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
Peel and core pears. To retain pear shape, insert and twist a corer or paring knife from several
angles at the bottom of the pear to extract core and seeds. In a saucepan just large enough to
hold pears, combine wine, 2 cups granulated sugar, five spice, cinnamon and cloves.
Add pears and just enough water or additional wine to cover pears. Bring to a boil. Cover and
simmer over low heat until pears are tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes depending
on ripeness of pears. Remove pears from wine mixture. Cool to room temperature then cover
and refrigerate until completely chilled. Simmer wine mixture until reduced to a syrupy
consistency. Set aside until ready to use. (May be made up to 2 days ahead; refrigerated)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a bowl mix almonds, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 2
tablespoons water. Spread on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes
turning several times until almonds are golden brown and sugar is caramelized. Cool.
Place mascarpone, heavy cream, powdered sugar and almond extract in a large mixing bowl.
Whip on high speed until mixture forms firm peaks. Can be made up to 12 hours ahead,
covered and refrigerated.
If desired, place mascarpone filling in a pastry bag with decorative tip. Pipe or spoon 2
tablespoons filling into center of each pear. Place on dessert plates. Pipe 2 tablespoons
mascarpone around bottom of pears, or garnish with a dollop. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons slightly
warm wine syrup over each pear. Garnish with candied almonds and serve immediately.