Red Wine Poached Pear with Goat Cheese

4 round fresh pears with stems (Bosc)
3 cups (750 mL) full bodied red wine (Shiraz or Cabernet)
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
300 oz Woolwich Dairy Chevrai original goat cheese
2-3 tbsp fresh orange juice
3 tsp icing sugar

Garnish (optional): mint leaves, chopped mixed nuts, icing sugar

Remove goat cheese from package and place in a small bowl allowing it to come to room temperature and soften.

Poaching Liquid: Use a small to medium sized cooking pot that holds 4 pears. Add wine, sugar, water, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon sticks and with a peeler or sharp knife cut a long strip of the orange peel avoiding the pith and add it to the liquid. Begin heating the liquid to a low simmer.

Carefully peel the whole pears and cut into halves and remove the core. Add pears to the liquid and simmer for 20-25 minutes until softened, turn the pears to allow all sides to soak. Remove pears and set aside to cool completely.

Remove cinnamon and orange peel, add 1 tbsp granulated sugar and simmer liquid to reduce down while stirring occasionally to approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cups of rich, thickened red wine sauce.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Goat Cheese Stuffing: Add orange juice and icing sugar to the goat cheese and mix.

Assembling the dessert: With a piping bag, ice cream scooper or melon baller, fill the core cavity with the goat cheese stuffing.

Option: On a dessert plate, pour the wine sauce around the pear, sprinkle with chopped nuts and icing sugar. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

Source: Woolwich Dairy