Eggnog Panna Cotta with Wine Poached Pear

Happy holidays! What better way to spread some joy around the dinner table with a lovely dessert. This Christmas I decided to turn it up a notch with an Italian dessert topped with a poached pear. This recipe does contain alcohol, but you can replace it with non-alcoholic red or white wine or apple juice. This recipe makes 2 glasses. If you want an even tone of alcohol taste feel free to leave out the rum in the panna cotta. 

Panna Cotta:
1 tbs Rum (optional)
2 tbs cold water
2 1/4 tsp or 1 packet of powdered gelatin
2 cups eggnog 

Poached Pear:
1 bottle red wine (750 ml)
1 cinnamon stick 2 star anise
3/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
4 pears
1/2 tsp clove

Panna Cotta Instructions:

  1. For the panna cotta place the cold water in a small condiment cup with the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is absorbed.
  2. In a sauce pan heat the eggnog until hot but not boiling. Remove the pot and add the rum and gelatin to the hot eggnog and stir until combined. Then strain it. 
  3. Place in 2 stemless wine glasses and pour 1 cup of eggnog in each glass then place in the fridge for up to 2 hours or overnight to firm up.
                                         Photographer: Orphee Okito


    Poached Pears Instructions:

    1. For the poached pears peel off the skin of 4 pears. Then slice 1/2 inch off the bottom of the pears to create a flat bottom.
    2. In a medium sauce pan combine 1 bottle of wine (750 ml) into a pot. Add 3/4 cup sugar. 1 cinnamon stick. 2 star anise. 1 vanilla bean.
    3. Place peeled pears in the wine sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Turn the pears every 5 minutes to ensure even color until pears are cooked, but still firm. 
    4. Cool to room temperature. Cut the pears vertical then place pears cut side down in the reduction. Cover and chill overnight to get the perfect color.
           **Notes: once you remove the pears you can simmer the wine sauce until you get a syrupy texture. Then drizzle over pears.

    Setting up your wine glasses:

    Remove your panna cotta wine glasses from the fridge. Pour the wine reduction in the glass until the top of the panna cotta is fully covered. Not too much especially if you added rum to your panna cotta. You want a smooth taste of alcohol, not overpowering. Then add your sliced pears to the panna cotta sliced side up. Serve at room temperature and enjoy.