Pears are often poached in red wine or port, which adds both color and flavor, but I find them even sweeter when the poaching liquid is made with Bunratty Mead. The silky cheese accompaniment — a blend of Irish blue cheese and Italian mascarpone, a soft, triple-cream cheese — is a luxurious addition.—Margaret M. Johnson
1 1/4 cups Bunratty Mead
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 to 3 cinnamon sticks
Zest of 1 orange, cut into strips
6 firm Bosc or Bartlett pears, peeled, stems intact
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
4 ounces Cashel Blue cheese, crumbled
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring the mead, sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, and orange zest to a boil. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is syrupy.
2. Reduce the heat to low, add the pears, and simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Turn the pears with tongs 2 or 3 times during cooking.
3. Remove from the heat and let the pears cool in the poaching liquid. Strain the liquid into a bowl and set aside.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the mascarpone and blue cheese until blended.
5. To serve, stand a pear in the center of a dessert plate, spoon some syrup over it, and place a dollop of the cheese mixture nearby.
Recipe ©2006 by Margaret M. Johnson. All rights reserved.