Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wine and Dessert and Yum and Yes Please.

Dear Tricia, Can you make dessert with wine?  I need something new to make for dessert and I think I want to try doing something with wine, but I'm not sure how or with what.

Absofreakinlutely.  There's a couple of ideas I have for you- one is super amateur if you're not feeling so adventurous or if you're pressed for time, and one requires just a little more work. 

1.  Pouring a really yummy dessert wine over fresh fruit.  Seriously, it's that simple.  Cut up some strawberries and peaches, put them in a little bowl and pour a sweet dessert wine over it- no more than a quarter cup or so.  Then toss the fruit in the wine, sprinkle some raw sugar (the brown sugar that has really big grains) on top, and put a little dollop of whipped cream on it.  You can use the stuff from the can- I don't judge.  It's really light and summery, and it takes like 18 seconds.  You can also do the same thing with sorbet.  Just pour a little bit of wine on top and serve it in a martini glass.  You just took dessert and made it uber fancy.   Your rich neighbors will be oh so impressed.  Even better, take the fruit, top it with the sorbet, AND pour the wine on top and serve it all in a nice glass.   Holy yes please.

My favorite wine to do this with is St. Supery Moscato.   All of their stuff is awesome, but the Moscato is good enough to make you want to drink it straight out of the bottle with a straw.

2.  Poaching.  Don't be afraid of that word.  Poaching is not as hard as it sounds, especially when it doesn't involve eggs.  You can poach pears in white or red wine here, just pick whatever you like the best. 

Pour 3 cups of wine and 1 cup of sugar in a pot.  Bring it up to a boil so that the sugar dissolves.  While you're waiting on that pot to boil (because that's kind of boring and I'm sure you'd rather be doing something else), take a pear and peel it with a vegetable peeler.  Then you want to cut it in half, lengthwise.  When your wine and sugar has come to a boil, turn it down until its just barely bubbling.  So if you boiled it on 10, you want to turn it down to about 4.  When it's simmering, take the pear halves and put them in the wine/sugar/heaven concoction.  All you're doing is cooking them so that they get soft, but while they're softening up, they absorb all the flavors of the wine, that lucky little pear. 

The pear slices will want to float up- sometimes you can take a big metal bowl and press it down on the pears just until they're submerged.   If you pour water in the bowl it keeps it weighted down and the pears in the wine.  See that?  You're like a poaching McGyver.  You want to cook the pears until they're tender, just enough so that if you try to put a butter knife in the pear, you shouldn't have to push very hard at all.  Think of the texture of canned pears- that's what you're going for.  When the pears are soft, leave them in the pot and put the whole thing in the fridge.  If you stir the liquid around often, it'll cool down faster.  I know, you're thinking "But Tricia, why don't I just take the pear out of the liquid?  It'll be so much faster that way."  It'll also dry the pear out and no one will want to eat your gross dried fruit with a thick skin on it.  This way the pear stays moist and keeps absorbing the flavors at the same time. 

When it's cool, scoop out the middle part where the core usually is and get rid of that.  Serve the pear with a little spoonful of creme fraiche in the scooped out part and drizzle it with honey, straight from the bottle.  Throw a few crushed pistachios or almonds around it and you're done.  Freaking sweet, my friend.

My favorite white wine to do this with is any riesling, but like I said- just pick your favorite and go with it.  There's no wrong way.   For reds, anything by Fall Creek is killer.  Again, their wine, especially the shiraz, is so good you want to just take a bath in it.  The thought has totally crossed my mind on multiple occasions. 

Now go impress your friends with your new found dessert skills.  Go forth and be fancy.  And if someone will buy me one of those wine rack bras, I totally promise to use it and give you a full review of its merits.

No comments: