Poached Pears with marsala

Recipe from Bon Appetit October 2002 issue. This makes 6 servings.

2 cups dry Marsala

2 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

2 long strips of orange peel

6 medium sized Bosc pears, peeled, stems left intact

4 ounces mascarpone cheese or flavored Greek yogurt (optional)

Combine 2 cups dry Marsala, 2 cups water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, split vanilla beans, and orange peel strips in heavy large pot. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peeled Bosc pears. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pot and simmer until pears are tender, turning pears occasionally, about 40 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to platter. Boil liquid in pot until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Pour syrup over poached pears. Chill until cold, turning pears occasionally, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.

Divide poached pears among 6 shallow bowls. Strain syrup; discard solids. Drizzle syrup over pears.

Garnish each pear with a dollop of mascarpone or yogurt, if desired.

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