from sunset magazine
Small to medium ripe pears,
halved lengthwise and cored
3 - 3 ½ lbs
Granulated sugar 1 ½ cups
Vanilla bean, whole 1
Cinnamon stick 1
Sauvignon blanc 1 bottle (750 mL)
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) ¼ cup
Light brown sugar, packed 1 ½ tsp
Cayenne pepper 1 pinch
Mascarpone 1 ¾ cups
1. Put pears in a large saucepan or wide sauté pan, cut side up, with the granulated sugar, vanilla
bean, cinnamon stick, wine, and ½ cup water. Simmer gently, covered, 6 minutes. Using 2
rubber spatulas, gently turn over and simmer until pears are tender when pierced with a fork, 5
to 8 minutes more.
2. Spoon out pears and set aside, loosely covered with plastic. Boil poaching liquid over medium
heat until thick and reduced to about 1 cup, about 30 minutes (take care not to reduce the syrup
too much). Chill until cool, at least 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add pepitas, brown sugar, and
cayenne. Cook, stirring often, until seeds are toasted and brown sugar has softened, about 3
4. Just before serving, mix ¼ cup of the syrup with mascarpone. Arrange pears on a serving platter.
Dollop mascarpone mixture on or beside pears, drizzle syrup over pears and mascarpone, and
sprinkle with pepitas mixture.
Make ahead: through Step 3, 1 day ahead; chill pears airtight (otherwise they’ll turn gray)