Mulled Cinnamon-Orange Pears, warm from the oven and topped with a dollop of slightly sweetened mascarpone cheese, make a never-to-be-forgotten fall or winter dessert.
When I'm deciding what to make for dessert when we have friends for dinner, I often think of something luscious involving chocolate or even a fancy carrot cake or a traditional Dutch apple pie. But nine times out of ten when I'm looking for a winter dessert, I come back to these mulled cinnamon-orange pears. A friend of mine, who is an exceptional cook, showed me how to make this poached pear dessert a few years ago. I've made it many times since then, and always receive requests for the recipe. It's just that good.
What kind of pears should I use?
While you can use any pears in this dessert, I sometimes wait until the tiny Forelle pears are available, usually in early December. I've also used the tiny Seckel pears, which are almost as naturally sweet as the Forelles, and I've used small Anjou pears as well. Keeping the pears whole isn't necessary, but it makes an attractive dessert.
Tips for Making Mulled Cinnamon-Orange Pears
If the peel is tough, remove it entirely, otherwise just remove part of it. The only tricky part of this recipe is carefully removing the core while leaving the pear intact. I use a very thin knife with a sharp point to scoop out the few seeds that these usually contain.
Arrange the pears in a baking dish with a lid, and add the orange juice, Triple Sec, brown sugar and spices.
Pop the dish in the oven to simmer while you eat dinner and your home will smell heavenly! These pears become tender and almost melt in your mouth.
Combine mascarpone with maple syrup and orange zest.
Spoon into dessert glasses, top with a dollop of mascarpone mixture, and garnish with additional orange zest.
Topped with a little naturally sweetened mascarpone, this dessert of mulled cinnamon-orange pears has a definite "Wow!" factor.
Mulled Cinnamon-Orange Pears with Mascarpone
- 8 Forelle or Seckel pears or 4 Anjou pears
- 125 ml frozen orange juice concentrate mixed with 1/3 - 1/2 cup water, or 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup orange liqueur (Triple Sec, Gran Marnier or Cointreau) (optional), or more
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks, broken if large
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 - 1 tsp whole allspice
- 4 star anise buds
- zest of one organic orange
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel pears and carefully remove the core using a melon baller or a tiny teaspoon. If necessary, slice a little off the bottom so they will stand upright. Arrange in a deep baking dish with a lid.
- Mix the orange juice concentrate with water. Drizzle it and the liqueur over the top of the pears, sprinkle with the sugar and ground spices and add the broken cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice and star anise.
- Cover and bake for 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes, until pears are tender when pricked with a fork. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce.
- Meanwhile, mix together the mascarpone cheese and maple syrup and add finely grated orange zest.
- Arrange pears in serving dishes, drizzle with sauce, top with the mascarpone and garnish with a little more orange zest.
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And if you like delicious pear desserts, try this Gluten-Free Cinnamon Pear Tart with Caramel Sauce