Poached Pears in Red Wine with Raisins

    This is a very pretty dessert. Dark red spicy wine colors the pears and makes them deep maroon on the outside while they remain white within. They are especially light and flavorful and are wonderful served after a rich meal.

    SERVES 4

    4 ripe but slightly firm pears (preferably Bosc, Comice, or Anjou)

    1ВЅ cups dry red wine

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    в…“ cup honey

    Pinch ground cloves

    1 cinnamon stick

    ВЅ cup raisins

    1. Peel the pears and slice in half vertically. Remove the cores, then make a shallow incision in the necks to remove the strings.
    2. In a large stainles steel or enamel skillet or 6-quart stockpot combine the wine, lemon juice, honey, cloves, cinnamon stick, and raisins. Bring to a boil.
    3. Add the pears and spoon some liquid on them. Reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pan. Cook the pears for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are tender when carefully pierced with the tip of a knife. Do not overcook them. Turn the pears occasionally to baste them.
    4. When the pears are done, remove them to a serving dish or individual decorative goblets, flat side up. Allow 2 halves per serving.
    5. Boil the remaining liquid over high heat until reduced by one-third. Spoon some raisins into each core and pour the sauce over the pears. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. May be prepared up to 8 hours in advance.