Honey Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cheese

Serves 4


• 2 firm but ripe large Bosc pears, peeled, halved, cored
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 6 tablespoons honey
• 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 2 tsp pure vanilla
• 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese*
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons brandy or dark rum


1. Toss pears with lemon juice in large bowl. Set aside. Combine 1 cup water, wine and honey in medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until honey dissolves. Add pears. Cover mixture with round piece of parchment paper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pears are just tender when pierced, turning when half-way through cooking, about 15 minutes.
2. Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to large bowl. Boil poaching liquid until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Cool syrup. Pour syrup over pears. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove vanilla bean.
3. Whisk mascarpone cheese, sugar and brandy in large bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup chilled poaching syrup and whisk until soft peaks form.
4. Thinly slice each pear half lengthwise, leaving slices attached at stem end. Using metal spatula, transfer pears to plates. Gently press on pears to fan slightly. Spoon some syrup over pears. Spoon mascarpone cream alongside each pear half and serve.