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Pears Poached in White Wine with Sabayon Sauce
8 to 10 firm, ripe, unblemished fresh California Bartlett pears
2 quarts water and 4 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl
1 quart fine strong dry white wine or 3 cups dry white vermouth and 1 cup water
Zest (colored part of peel only) and juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 sticks or 1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs yolks
1/4 cup fruit poaching liquid or a sweet white wine plus a little vanilla
1/4 cup white vermouth
1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar, depending on sweetness of liquid added
Peel, halve and core pears, dropping them into the lemon water as you go, to prevent discoloration. Meanwhile, simmer wine with lemon zest and juice, sugar and cinnamon for 5 minutes. Drop in the pears (adding only so many that the cooking liquid covers them, or add more wine plus 6 tablespoons sugar per cup). Maintain liquid at just below the simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, just until pears are tender when pierced with a knife. Let them cool in the syrup for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or cold; store in a covered bowl, in the syrup, under refrigeration.
For Sabayon Sauce: Whisk all Sabayon Sauce ingredients together in a stainless or enameled saucepan. When well blended, whisk over low heat until mixture is thick, foamy and warm to your finger. Do not bring too near to simmer or the eggs will scramble, but you must have enough heat to do the job - a wisp of steam rising over the surface usually indicates the sauce is done - after 2 to 4 minutes of whisking. Serve within 20 to 30 minutes.
Note: With a longer wait, the sauce will usually separate but can be re-homogenized by beating again over heat. It will not be a foamy sauce, however, if reheated, it will usually be a smooth yellow cream, like a custard sauce.
Sabayon Sauce can be made in a double boiler over simmering water.