Poached Pears with Orange-Berry Sauce

Serves 8

This warm dessert is a great way to end a meal on a cool evening. The pears can also be made ahead and chilled for an easy summer treat.

4 firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled, halved and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup dark honey
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
2 cups blackberries
Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Place the pear halves in a bowl with the lemon juice and toss gently to coat.

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup water, the wine, honey, orange juice, 1 tablespoon of the orange zest, the vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the pears and cranberries. Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow the pears to cool in the liquid. Using tongs, gently transfer the pears to a plate. Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. In a blender or food processor, puree the reduced liquid with the blackberries. Transfer the pears to individual plates, spoon some sauce over each and garnish with the remaining orange zest and the mint leaves, if desired.

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