PERE AL VINSANTO. Vin Santo, literally meaning “holy wine,” is a sweet dessert wine traditionally produced in Central Italy and some areas of the North using dried grapes. This is one of my favorite recipes in Antonio Carluccio‘s book “Italian Feast”. It makes a perfect conclusion to a hearty Umbrian meal of lentil soup followed by torta al testo with sausages and cime di rapa.
- 4 pears, ripe but not too soft (e.g. d’Anjou)
- 1/2 bottle of Vin Santo or other dessert wine like Malvasia or Passito
- 100 gr sugar
- rind of 1 lemon
- 3 cloves
- 1 stick cinnamon
- optional: 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese per person
Peel the pears, so they absorb the wine while cooking, but leave them whole or halved. Put them in a non-reactive saucepan and cover with wine. Add the sugar, lemon rind and spices and poach with the lid on until tender. Remove the pears from the liquid and place them into individual serving bowls. Simmer the remaining liquid until reduced to a golden syrup and just starting to foam. Pour the syrup over the pears, allow to cool and serve garnished with a dollop of mascarpone or over homemade custard if desired.