Roasted Pears in Cider and Port Wine

 

There is nothing like finding a dessert that’s beautiful, easy and unbelievably delicious. We all know that it isn’t always so easy. There are a lot of desserts that fit only one or two of those stipulations.  A genoise cake, for example is beautiful and delicious but certainly NOT simple.

 

 

Roasted Pears In Cider and Port Wine | The Road Home - SO delicious and ridiculously easy.

 

 

That’s why this dessert is so special.  Did I mention that it’s fairly low-calorie as well? I used to make roasted pears with pomegranate juice and red wine, which was very good but it just didn’t quite have the depth a great autumn dessert should have. I tinkered with apple cider and port wine instead and added ginger, cinnamon and cardamom to create this gem of a fall treat. I honestly haven’t met anyone in any of my classes who hasn’t gone crazy over this one. You may also want to prepare this if you are having an open house as well. The combination of pears, port, cider and spices says cozy autumn like nothing else. I bet it will sell your house in a flash!

 

 

Roasted Pears In Cider and Port Wine | The Road Home - SO delicious and ridiculously easy.

 

 

 

The best thing about it is that your friends and family will not only love it but they will be so honored you spent so much time making them a special dessert. The truth (note, I am whispering) is that it will take you about 15 minutes to get in oven. Don’t worry. Your secret will be safe. Who am I going to tell?

 

 

Roasted Pears In Cider and Port Wine | The Road Home - SO delicious and ridiculously easy.

 

Roasted Pears In Cider and Port Wine | The Road Home - SO delicious and ridiculously easy.

 

 

Oh, and be sure to save any extra sauce to pour over French toast, pancakes or waffles over the weekend. The recipe purposefully makes more sauce than you will need for the pears alone so you can have leftovers. Who could ask for more?

 

 

Roasted Pears In Cider and Port Wine | The Road Home - SO delicious and ridiculously easy.

 

 

Do you have any easy winner dessert recipes like this one? Let us know in the comments, below!

 

 

Roasted Pears In Cider and Port Wine | The Road Home - SO delicious and ridiculously easy.

 

 

 

 

 

Pears in a Port Wine Cider Glaze

From: Heide Lang

Ingredients:

  • 1/1/4 cups Ruby Port
  • 1 1/4 cups Apple Cider
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 ½ Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 teaspoons Grated Orange Peel
  • ¾ teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • ¾ teaspoon Ginger Powder (or one teaspoon fresh finely chopped ginger)
  • 6 Ripe Bosc or Red Star Crimson Pears, with stems, peeled
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Stir port, apple cider, sugar, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, cardamom and ginger powder in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.
  3. Using a small melon baller, core pears from bottom of wide end.
  4. Trim bottoms flat and stand upright in 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish.
  5. Pour all but a ½ cup of the sauce over pears. Set aside the remaining ½ cup for later.
  6. Roast pears until tender when pierced with a knife or skewer, basting pears with sauce every 20 minutes, for about 1 hour.
  7. Using spatula, transfer roasted pears to serving platter.
  8. Return the pan juices to the saucepan.
  9. Simmer until reduced to 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes.
  10. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl, discarding all solids. (This is optional. The sauce will simply be smoother if you filter out the orange zest before serving.)
  11. Spoon glaze over pears.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

Baking with Oma: Apfelkuchen

I probably shouldn’t, but I’m just going to say it. I am not a baker. I can fake it, but it isn’t my thing. Okay, I said it. I feel better.

 

My mom, known as Oma to the girls, came over this week to start teaching us her time honored yeast cakes, tarts, and strudels. We’ve been meaning to pick her brain for a few years and I kid her all the time when I say we need to get these recipes on paper before she gets too old. I can say this because my mom at 78 is totally youthful and awesome, and has all her marbles. Lucky girl.

 

Cake1

 

Gabrielle has been dying to learn Oma’s chocolate yeast cake, an absolute must every Easter and Christmas morning at our house. She labored for several hours and of course it was perfect. Gabrielle, you might guess, loves to bake. She was smiling from ear to ear with when her creation came out of the oven. [Edit from Gabrielle – it was, in fact, perfect. Read post here!] I decided to make another venerable favorite – a German cake made with tart dough, but baked in a rectangular form. The dough recipe was in German so that meant translating the directions and measurements, which Oma faithfully did. We were doubling a basic recipe and adding new ingredients that have been added over the years. I unfortunately did the conversions from grams. Big mistake. It seemed like it was going well until I took the dough out of the fridge after the compulsory “resting” phase, and tried to roll it out. It seemed very moist, which it was because I forget to double the flour! You can’t do that baking. If a savory recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic and you only add two, oh well. If you don’t double the flour in a cake, it’s a disaster. Lesson learned, new bakers, you can’t really add 2 more cups of flour after the “resting” phase.

 

cake3

 

And that is why I like to cook so much more. I can make mistakes and no one will know. In fact, mistakes often make dishes better, but more on that another day. My mother refused to give up on the dough. We DO NOT waste ingredients, she said. So she worked her magic and somehow added the missing flour to the finished dough. I don’t know how she did it, but the cake was very good and it didn’t get all weird and gluten-y, which is supposed to happen when you overwork dough. So here is the Correct recipe and the final product, a delicious cake, with almost perfect texture (firm but a bit crumbly) and the just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar. Mutti, you’re a genius.

 
apples

 

Below you’ll find my mothers perfect recipe, free from my silly mistakes! Let us know if you decide to make it! And do you have any time honored family traditions? Tell us about them below!

 

 

mixingdough

 

 

 

Oma’s German Apple Cake

From: Heide Lang

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (250 grams) flour
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250) grams unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs lightly whisked
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 Granny Smith apples cored and peeled
  • Scant ¼ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 3-4 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Place the butter in the freezer for a least one hour before.
  2. Cut the butter in one-inch slices.
  3. Place flour in a large bowl. Add butter and sugar.
  4. Using a pastry blender or food processor, blend until mixture is crumbly and much of the dough is in pea size pieces.
  5. Add the vanilla, eggs and a pinch of salt. Mix until just well blended.
  6. Divide the dough in half and roll each into a ball. Flatten the ball to create a disc and wrap them each in wax paper or plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Slice the apples 1/8 inch thick, preferably using a mandolin so all the pieces are the same size. Set aside.
  8. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll out both halves to fit a 13 X 9 pan, preferably with a one-inch rim.
  9. Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly on the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add the apples, being sure to evenly distribute them on the bottom of the pan.
  11. Sprinkle 3 or 4 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar evenly over the apples.
  12. Take the second rolled out dough and carefully place it on top of the apples. Tuck in the dough on all the sides so an even crust will form.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes, or until brown. Let cool in pan and cut into squares.
  14. Serve with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Fall at its Finest

I love autumn for so many reasons – the soft lighting, the crisp air, and the beautiful foliage – but somehow things always come back to food for us. Even when I was a little girl, great food superseded all other experiences. Sure, I was excited to go back to school and for Halloween, but what I really loved were the comfort foods my mother made in the fall. She used to make these wonderful Austrian plum dumplings called Zwetschgenknoedel. These cozy and rich Austrian potato dumplings are filled with Italian plums and have just enough sugar and cinnamon to be called dessert.

When I went to college, I had Zwetschgenknoedel withdrawal every fall, and for years afterward I would beg my mother for the recipe. Like so many great cooks of her generation, she said there was no recipe and she would add a little of this and that each time. But in recent years, Gabrielle and Isabella got so tired of hearing about these special dumplings they begged their Oma to try to write it down. Fortunately, it was much easier to do than she predicted. They’re actually quite easy to make, and they’re spectacularly delicious.

Most Americans have never had these delectable dumplings before. I’ve never seen them on a menu or sold anywhere. In Germany and Austria, they are as common as apple pie and it’s easy to see why. There is nothing better than one or two of these dumplings with a cup of tea after a light lunch or dinner. Help me spread the word and share this link with all of your foodie friends. I assure you, they will be grateful.

 

Zwetschgenknoedel (Austrian Plum Dumplings)

From: Heide Lang

Ingredients:

  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • About 12 Italian Plums (sometimes called prunes) or damson plums
  • ¾ cup sugar1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Boil 2 russet potatoes until soft (at least ½ hour).
  2. Peel off skin and add 1/3 stick butter sliced. Mash potatoes and butter until smooth.
  3. Add a dash of salt and mix again. Let cool.
  4. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a 12 inch saucepan.
  5. Add sugar, cinnamon, and bread crumbs and heat until breadcrumbs are slightly browned. Set aside and cool.
  6. Mix one whole egg and one yolk into the potatoes, along with one cup of flour.
  7. Mix well and knead until dough is smooth (you may need a little more flour).
  8. Shape the dough into a 4 inch by 6 inch rectangle
  9. Wash and dry plums
  10. Cut approximately 1/2 inch of dough (depending on the size of the plums) and flatten into round shape in the palm of your hand (dough should be about an 1/8 of an inch thick when flattened out).
  11. Wrap dough around the plum, making sure to cover it completely.
  12. Repeat until all the plums are wrapped.
  13. Fill a 6 quart pot two-thirds of the way with lightly salted water.
  14. Place the dumplings  gently in the water and let come to a boil again.
  15. Reduce to a simmer and cook until you can see the juice “bleeding” inside the dumplings.
  16. Remove with a slotted spoon and roll into the bread crumb mixture.
  17. Let cool 15 minutes and serve.