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Cook with Balfour Winery

“The Pinot Noir grapes that go into our Luke’s Pinot Noir are all grown on Wealden clay. This uniquely Kentish terroir imparts a wonderful, earthy character to the wine, that is not unlike mushrooms, truffles or forest floor. Combine that with the juicy cherry and raspberry notes that Pinot Noir is known for, and you have a truly exceptional wine!” So let’s cook with it.

Luke’s Pinot Noir Spiced Poached Pears

with Port reduction, hazelnut crumb and cinnamon ice cream

This simple classic autumnal dessert is ideal to prepare in advance as it is served cold yet is still flavourful enough to impress for any occasion.

Serves 4


4 Ripe pears

6 tbsp Caster sugar

400ml Luke’s Pinot Noir

250ml Ruby Port

80g Whole Blanched Hazelnuts

1 Cinnamon stick

1 Star Anise

1 tsp Juniper berries

Cinnamon ice cream to serve

Step 1

Peel your pears and place them with 3 tbsp of sugar, Luke’s Pinot Noir, and the spices in a small saucepan. Make sure the pears are fully submerged in liquid (if not, top up with a little more wine or water). Place a cartouche (baking paper cover) on the surface of the liquid.

Step 2

Place on a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for about 15 mins, or until a knife effortlessly pierces the flesh to the core. Once cooked, remove from the heat, and allow the pears to cool in the liquid.

Step 3

Whilst your pears are cooling, toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan on medium heat for about two minutes until they are hot but not significantly coloured. Don’t allow them to burn.

Step 4

Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor for a few seconds whilst still warm, or alternatively crush them in a pestle and mortar. Don’t overdo this step – you want merely broken hazelnuts, not powder.

Step 5

Once the pears have cooled, remove them from the liquor. Strain the liquor through a fine sieve into a large frying pan. Add the Port and the remaining sugar and place on medium-high heat and reduce. Swirl the pan frequently and turn it down if the liquid wants to overboil. You may want to gradually lower the temperature as the mixture reduces. At the point where the liquor appears glossy and will coat the back of a steel spoon, remove from the heat, and allow to cool.

Step 6

Either slice your pears to serve, removing the core in the process, or remove the bottom and serve upright and whole. Scatter the crumbed hazelnuts over the dish, and drizzle with the cooled Port mixture.

Step 7

Serve with cinnamon ice cream. If you cannot source cinnamon ice cream, you could, in advance, fold a pinch of cinnamon powder through good quality vanilla ice cream and allow it to infuse in the freezer for a few hours beforehand.


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