Do you usually eat dessert? Growing up, dessert was a BIG treat in my house - like, a once a week thing, at the very most. It was usually a pretty simple affair, consisting of something like ice-cream or fruit with jelly. Occasionally my mother would make her self-saucing chocolate pudding, which was always amazing, but was also a fairly rare occurrence. I suspect she was trying to prevent her children from developing a sweet tooth.
Didn't work, Mother. I loooove sweet stuff, and I like to have something sweet sometime in between dinner and bedtime every night. I tend to keep this pretty small - a couple of squares of dark chocolate, or a hot chocolate, or a cup of tea and a biscuit - or, sometimes, I'll go the other way entirely and go all out. Shake things up a little around here. Startle H1, in the very best way.
Saturday was just such an occasion. It was an overcast, miserable, cold, grey day in the city, with the constant threat of snow in the air. It was a day to indulge, and because my mood is very affected by the weather, indulge I did.
When making a boozy gooey dessert, it pays to begin with fruit. That way, no matter how excessive the rest of it gets, you can always fall back on the fruit defence. If it's got fruit in it, it's healthy. That's science*!
This dessert tastes amazing, especially on a winter's day, and is actually really easy to make (because who wants to complicate things any more when it's grey outside?) You don't need to add the chocolate. I don't always, but it definitely takes it up a notch in the indulgence stakes. You could also omit the ice-cream, and use a little mascarpone or Greek yoghurt instead, to make it lighter. If you're going to do that, though, it might also be an idea to google a dedicated healthy cooking site**. I'm choosing to share the full fat (full full fat maybe - but remember, there's fruit in it) recipe for this - one of my favourite*** boozy, gooey desserts.
Poached Pears with Red Wine Chocolate Sauce (serves 2)
- One pear, washed and quartered lengthways
- About 3/4 cup of a decent red wine
- A handful of good quality dark chocolate drops
Place pear quarters in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (I use my Le Creuset dish). Pour wine in over them - it doesn't matter if they're not completely covered - and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down and let pears 'stew', turning them over every 15 - 20 minutes or so to ensure the wine soaks completely into them. Once they're lovely and soft (40 - 60 mins) remove the pears from the wine, and place into bowls.
Add chocolate drops to wine while it's still on the heat, and slowly and steady mix until all the chocolate has completely melted, and you have a thick chocolate-y sauce. Pour over pears, then serve with ice-cream, and enjoy immediately, while forgetting you were ever a little bit grumpy****.
*May not actually be science. It's been a while.
**See my previous science-based note for reasons why.
***I'm a bit of a connoisseur.
****Pretty sure this is what scientists refer to as 'self-medication'. Don't take my word for it, though.