Spiced Red Wine Fruit Soup with Candied Orang
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|Half a vanilla bean, split|
|2 tsHigh-quality peppermint|
|1 1/4 cSugar, approximately|
|1 Star anise pod|
|4 cDry Red Wine|
|1/2 cCreme fraiche|
|1/2 tsCardamon seeds|
|2 tbOrange liqueur|
|12 Fresh mint leaves OR|
|1 tbPlus 1 teaspoon cornstarch|
|1/4 cHeavy cream (approximately)|
|Oranges or tangerines|
|3 mdPears, such as Bartlett|
|1 tsWhole black peppercorns|
|8 smThin-skinned seedless|
|Fresh mint leaves, garnish|
Spiced Red Wine Fruit Soup with Candied Orang Preparation
1. Using a large sharp knife, trim off the top and bottom of the pineapple and slice off the skin. Using the tip of a vegetable peeler, remove the eyes. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise and core it. Slice each quarter crosswise 1/2" thick, then cut enough slices into bite-sized pieces to make 1 cup. Reserve balance of the pineapple for another use. 2. In a large saucepan of simmering water, scald the oranges for 5 seconds. Refresh under cold running water; pat dry. Pick out the orange with the nicest skin. Using a sharp knife, cut it crosswise into very thin slices; save any juices. Using a vegetable peeler, strip the zest from 3 of the remaining oranges; cut it into very thin strips; set aside. 3. Juice the 3 zested oranges. Add enough water to make 1 1/4 cups and pour into a medium nonreactive saucepan. Stir in the 1 1/4 cups suage and the orange slices and their juices. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean with the tip of a knife and set aside. Add the bean and star anise pod to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently until the white of the orange slices begins to turn translucent and the syrup takes on a rich amber color, about 1 hour. Add a few tablespoons of water if the syrup thickens too much before the slices are translucent. Strain the syrup and add enough water to make 3/4 cup. Reserve the orange slices; discard the star anise and the vanilla bean. 4. While the orange slices are cooking, using a small sharp knife, peel the remaining 4 oranges, removing all the bitter white pith. Working over a nonreactive bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the orange sections. Squeeze the membranes to extract all the juice. Add the cut pineapple and orange liqueur. Set aside to macerate until ready to assemble the soup. 5. Peel, halve and core the pears. Slice them crosswise 1/3-inch thick. 6. In another medium nonreactive saucepan, boil the red wine over high heat until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 12 minutes. Stir in the reserved orange syrup and orange zest and the bouquet garni (tie all ingredients in the listing for the bouquet garnet in cheesecloth before using). Bring to a simmer over moderately low heat. Add the pears and poach until wine-colored and tender when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfers the pears to a plate to cool. 7. If desired, add another teaspoon or so of sugar to the wine mixture. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water and whisk into wine. Return to a boil over high heat; boil for 1 minute to thicken. Pour the soup into another nonreactive container; let cool slightly; then cool completely in refrigerator. Squeeze the bouquet garni gently; discard. 8. In a food processor, puree the reserved candied orange slices and vanilla bean seeds. Add the creme fraiche and blend. Thin with the heavy cream to a semi-liquid consistency. 9. To assemble the soup: Place the poached pear slices in chilled shallow bowls or rimmed soup plates. Scatter the orange sections and pineapple pieces evenly on top. Ladle 1/4-cup of the soup over each serving. Place a dollop of the creme fraiche mixture in the center of each bowl and garnish with a mint leaf. Makes 6-8 servings. NOTE: If you buy organic oranges or tangerines, you dont need to follow the scalding procedure in Step 2.
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