Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market

This post was sponsored by Cost Plus World Market. I feel delighted and privileged to be able to work with brands that I genuinely love and that help me to keep this site up and running! Thank you so much for continuing to support my passions and efforts by being here! As always, all opinions are my own!

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

My Aunt Corrie makes the most beautiful poached pears.  Deep ruby in color and scented with spice, they resemble fine jewels more than fruit.  Very delicious fine jewels. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

Poached pears are undeniably show-stopping and make the perfect dessert for company.  This winter, I set out to develop a version that would be as simple to make as it was impressive. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

The slow cooker is the perfect choice of cookware for poaching because the longer these pears steep in their wine bath, the more flavorful they become. Of course, if you do not own a slow cooker, you could easily substitute a dutch oven set over low heat.

Though you could make these pears any day of the week, I love using this recipe as a "company dessert" because it is so hands-off. While you are enjoying your guests, dessert is taking care of itself.

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

When it came to devising my poaching liquid, Cost Plus World Market came to my assistance with their amazing wine and pantry sections. This recipe begins with a bottle of rich and fruity Ménage À Trois Cabernet that is sweetened with raw sugar and scented with orange zest, vanilla bean, and a duo of warm, wintry spices.

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

The combination is just sweet enough and layered with flavor. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

While the mixture heats in the slow cooker, the pears are prepared.  When shopping for your pears, try to find ripe, firm specimens that have their stems intact.  This will make turning and serving them a bit easier. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

By this time, the wine should be simmering and you will never again want to leave your kitchen because it just smells sooo good. 

The pears are flipped halfway through the cooking time, and are simmered just long enough for them to take in all the wonderful flavors of our spicy wine, but not so long that they become mushy.  You are still looking for them to be slightly firm and spoonable.

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com] #sponsored

This color!  It makes my eyes so happy. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

Is it too early to start planning for Valentine's Day?  I feel like these would be a pretty stellar choice. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

After the pears have cooked through, some of the cooking liquid is removed from the pot and boiled down to a thin syrup that will blanket a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream. 

Sweety and salty cinnamon prailine almonds bring a very welcome bit of crunch to the scene.

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

And just like that, dessert is served. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored
Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored
Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

Here's to slow, winter days and the sweet rewards that they bring. 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


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VANILLA-SPICED WINE POACHED PEARS 

serves 6

  • 1 naval orange

  • 750 ml Cabernet Sauvignon (I used Menage a Trois)

  • 2 cups pure cane sugar

  • 2, 5-inch Saigon cinnamon sticks

  • 1 madagascar vanilla bean, split and scraped

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 6 firm, ripe bosc pears, peeled

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

  • 1 cup sweet and salty cinnamon praline almonds, roughly chopped

Use a vegetable peeler to remove two, 5-inch strips of zest from the orange.

Combine wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean paste, whole vanilla bean, allspice, cinnamon and orange zest in your slow-cooker and set on high heat.  Heat, stirring often, until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture is steaming; about 45 minutes. 

Add the pears to the mixture and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, flipping the pears halfway through.  The pears should be deep burgundy in color and fork tender, but not mushy.  

Turn the heat to low and remove 2 cups of the liquid from the slow-cooker and transfer to a small saucepan.  Bring the liquid to a heavy simmer over medium high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes; until the syrup has reduced by half. 

Serve the pears alongside vanilla ice cream and drizzle with the reduced syrup.  Sprinkle with chopped almonds just before serving.  Enjoy! 


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A Sister Baking Day at Norwyk Manor with Cost Plus World Market

This post was sponsored by Cost Plus World Market . I feel delighted and privileged to be able to work with brands that I genuinely love and that help me keep this site up and running! Thank you so much for continuing to support my passions and efforts by being here! As always, all opinions are my own!

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

It might be a little early to start tossing around the peppermint extract, but I've got a cabinet filled with pine-scented hand soaps and the ole' Bing Crosby station playing, and I just can't help myself. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

For many years, my sister and I have shared holiday baking days.  We first began making assorted tins of cookies and truffles for our teachers, but as we have grown past the school years the tradition has continued.  Our baking endeavors have changed from year to year, but whether we are assembling pies or rolling peanut butter balls, the laughter is bountiful, the sugar plentiful, and the rewards sweet. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

This year, Cost Plus World Market helped us make our baking day extra special! If you have not yet visited your local store you must! I fell completely in love with their nordic-inspired Christmas decorations.

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

Last week I invited my sister over to test a few of the holiday cookies that I plan to share with my friends and neighbors this year. I knew that I wanted to simplify our efforts a bit by making one basic dough that could be easily transformed into two entirely different cookies.  I love creating assorted cookie tins and trays for parties or gifts, but sometimes the thought of making several different doughs at once is overwhelming.  Having one basic dough that can play two entirely different roles is a lifesaver. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

This simple, chocolate shortbread is rich and buttery.  The combination of both cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate really takes these cookies to the next level of indulgence. 

After making the basic dough, we divided it into two equal parts, adding a bit of peppermint extract to one half of the dough. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

I wanted to make at least one of my cookies very simple - the kind I like to enjoy alongside a mug of tea. I rolled the peppermint dough somewhat thin and used these darling cookie molds to punch out the cookies. While they were still warm, we dusted them with a generous layer of confectioner's sugar and a sprinkling of peppermint dust.

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

The result was a wonderfully crisp, buttery cookie that is just the thing to serve alongside your morning mocha. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

For the second half of the cookie dough we had to pull out all the stops, beginning with glittery jam. I was first introduced to glittery jam last year in London and, as you would expect, it kind of rocked my world, so I was beyond delighted to find these two delicious flavors at my local Cost Plus World Market in Williamsburg, Virginia.

After rolling the dough into balls, we indented the center of each cookie, leaving a shallow cavity ideal for holding a spoonful of jam and a smear of red wine ganache. The combination of the jam and the rich chocolate was truly delightful.

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

In the end, it was hard to pick a favorite. Thankfully, we did not have to. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

After hours of juggling sheet trays, we stepped away, and though we still had confectioner's sugar in our hair and flour on our jeans, we stole a few moments and shared a pot of sweet, peppermint hot cocoa .

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

While we are not handing out any Christmas cookies yet, I am cataloguing these winning recipes for December and tucking half of the remaining dough into my freezer for last minute baking emergencies. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

Thank you for joining me and my sister in our pre-Christmas baking extravaganza! All the products and specialty ingredients in this post are linked below, along with another fantastic holiday recipe from Brandi Milloy!

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


Sweeten your holiday entertaining with Brandi Milloy's easy Christmas baking recipe for a classic icebox cake made with Walkers Gingerbread Biscuits, Butter Toffee Pretzels and Salted Caramel Bark from Cost Plus World Market. Plus, see her cheery dessert table presentation. Imagine the joy you'll bring.

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Chocolate Christmas Cookies 2-Ways 

for the cookie dough

  • 1 1/2 lbs unsalted butter, softened 
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder 
  • 12 ounces semi sweet chips, melted 
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Place butter in the work bowl and beat on medium speed for one minute; until fluffy.  Add granulated sugar to the butter and cream on medium speed for two minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Beat in cocoa powder and melted chocolate.  Divide the dough and turn half of it out onto a floured surface.  Shape into two equal discs and wrap in plastic wrap. 

Pour the peppermint extract into the remaining half of the dough and mix well.  Turn the dough out onto the floured surface, pat into two discs and cover with plastic wrap. 

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. 

Cook's Note:  At this point you could wrap the dough in wax paper, place in freezer bags, and freeze for up to two weeks, just allow the dough to defrost before rolling or shaping.

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

for the peppermint cookies

makes about 48 cookies

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup peppermint dust sprinkles or finely crushed candy canes 

Place the confectioner's sugar in a sifter. 

Place the peppermint dough on a well-floured surface and roll out to 1/4-inch in thickness.  Use cookie cutters or molds to cut the dough, placing the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly puffed and crisp on the edges.  Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool for 5-10 minutes, until just warm.  Dust the warm cookies with confectioner's sugar and sprinkle with peppermint dust. 

Place in airtight containers and store for up to a week.  Enjoy! 

for the red wine ganache and jam thumbprint cookies  

makes about 36 cookies

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping 
  • 2 tablespoons merlot (at room temperature) 
  • 2 cups Wildy Delicious Glitter Spread (I used both the Mimosa and Christmas flavors for variety) 

Use a cookie scoop to portion the prepared dough into 1-ounce balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.*  Use your thumb to make an indent into the center of each cookie and bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly puffed and crisp on the edges, but soft in the center.  These cookies are intended to remain somewhat chewy. 

*Cook's Note: It is important to keep the dough cold, so try to work it as quickly and as little as possible.  If you find that the indentation is not as prominent as you would like after the cookies have baked, just use a small spoon to press down on the center of each cookie while they are still hot. 

Transfer the cookies to cooling racks and allow to cool completely.  While the cookies cool, prepare the ganache. 

Place chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream in a large, glass bowl.  Microwave for thirty seconds, then stir, and heat for an additional thirty seconds.  Do this until the chocolate is shiny and has completely melted.  Whisk in merlot.  

Use a spoon to fill each cookie with one teaspoon of ganache, following with one teaspoon full of jam.  Store cookies in an airtight container for to 3 days.  Enjoy! 

Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew

This post was sponsored by Cost Plus World Market . I feel delighted and privileged to be able to work with brands that I genuinely love. Thank you so much for continuing to support my passions and efforts by being here!

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

It is Monday morning - the perfect opportunity to set some goals for ourselves.  Simple, attainable goals that will feel as easy to meet as they are to make.  Goal #1: Do not try to get out of brushing your teeth before work by chewing gum in the car.  We are better than that.  Well, we want to be better than that.  Goal #2: Set a healthy precedence for the rest of the week by making yourself a proper dinner.  Popcorn does not count. 

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

We are making an after-work soup.  No defrosting chicken before heading off to work, or pulling out the slow cooker.  This soup will be ready, start to finish, in about forty-five minutes. Exactly what Monday requested - she likes things nice and easy. 

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

Some of you may be hyperventilating at the sight of squash, but rest assured that I still have a few summery treats in store for you that I will be sharing during the coming weeks.  I am just slowly fading back into the realm of plaid button-ups and mugs of cider.  You knew it was coming, I cannot apologize.

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

If you need to hang on to burgers and potato salad for a couple more weeks I definitely understand, but be sure to bookmark this one for later on because you do not want to miss out.  

I went to my local Cost Plus World Market store in Williamsburg, Virginia last week and I am in love with their modern take on fall decorations and entertaining essentials for this year. I am envisioning a tablescape consisting of blue and white china, lots of gold accents (always), and miniature white pumpkins. Eeeep! I cannot wait.

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

Now, let's talk about this soup. 

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

This was the first time in my life that I had ever used dried mushrooms. While I definitely prefer the texture of fresh mushrooms, if you have a difficult time finding more exotic varieties in your area, this is a great option for you.

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

What I discovered about dried mushrooms, and what convinced me to add them to my pantry staple list, is that they make a fantastically flavorful broth.  I am really excited about this, so bear with me.  This is going to be my new secret weapon for a number of reasons.  

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

I have encountered quite a few eaters in my time that are strongly opposed to mushrooms (ahem, I married one).  I take issue with this because mushrooms lend such incredible notes of complexity that can compliment meat, or add meaty notes to an otherwise vegetarian dish, such as this soup.  

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

Enter, dried mushrooms.  By adding only the mushroom broth, or more accurately, mushroom “tea,” all texture aversions are averted while umami is maintained.  One might call this a “win win situation.”  

Of course, if you enjoy the texture of the shrooms, you can certainly keep them in the soup for a double dose of mushroom magic.  I would generally opt for a combination of mushroom broth and fresh mushrooms. 

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

The mushroom broth works wonderfully in this soup.  Its complexity gives the simple vegetable broth base the effect of a stew that has been simmering all day, without nearly the time investment. I plan on incorporating this newfound mushroom "tea" into my roasts and stews this winter.  Kitchen cheat codes right here. 

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

Brilliant as it is, mushroom broth is not our sole secret.  To further enhance the depth and richness of an otherwise stodgy vegetable broth, we are adding a parmesan rind. 

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

That rubber-like outer crust of parmesan that you would typically toss in the garbage brings an entirely new salty layer to our broth.  This trick can be used in a variety of soups to bring added depth and flavor, so save those rinds! 

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

Let’s address the vegetarian aspects.  I know a few of you may be panicking because this is the fourth vegetarian recipe I have shared in a week.  I still crave steaks at weird hours of the night, so you may calm your worries because I am far from converting.  However, even the carnivore in me can appreciate a hearty vegetable-based meal now and then.  

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

This soup is so rich and robust that no one will be missing the meat. 

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

And, if you are feeling some extra carbs, toast up a sliced baguette with some walnut oil and parmesan. The walnut oil gives the crostini a lovely nuttiness.

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

You’ve definitely got this Monday, and even if it ends up being one of “those days,” at least we can come home to an easy dinner, right?

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

As we slip into the most wonderful season, I would love to hear from you what you are looking to add to your fall recipe arsenals, so please send some comments, messages, or requests my way! Over the next week or two, I’ll be putting together a full fall inspiration list and I would love to tailor it to your needs/wishes/cravings.

This deliciously hearty Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew is the perfect way to transition from summer to fall.  {Pedantic Foodie}

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


Butternut Tortellini Mushroom Stew 

serves 6-8

for the stew

  • 1.5 ounces dried mushrooms*
  • 2 cups water, room temperature 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 large parmesan rind (from about 1/2 lbs 
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 60 ounces vegetable broth, divided 
  • 4 sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces dried cheese tortellini
  • 3 ounces (roughly two large handfuls) baby spinach 

*Cook's Note: If you are not a fan of mushroom texture, you may wish to use only the mushroom broth in this recipe and discard the dried mushrooms after they have served their purpose. However, if you enjoy the texture, feel free to leave them in, or add 2 cups of fresh, sliced cremini mushrooms to the pan along with the shallots, and sauté until they begin to brown.  They will not substitute the broth, but will work in combination with it to achieve both the wonderful savory flavor, and give you a more familiar mushroom texture. 

Place dried mushrooms in a large measuring cup and cover with water, pressing down so that all the mushrooms are submerged.  Allow to soften while you prepare the soup - this will likely take about thirty minutes. 

In the meantime, place a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter.  Add shallots and kosher salt and cook until just golden brown. (If you are using fresh mushrooms, you will also add them at this point.)  Add parmesan rind and squash to the pan and cover with 32 ounces of the vegetable broth.  

Increase heat to medium high and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the squash has just begun to soften.  While the soup simmers, attend to the mushrooms.  

Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid in a clean container.  If using the whole mushrooms, thoroughly rinse them with cold water and pat with a paper towel to remove as much liquid as possible (this may take several towels).  Give them a rough chop.  Strain the reserved "broth" through a fine mesh strainer lined with paper towels or a coffee filter.  

To the soup, add the chopped sage, tortellini, remaining vegetable broth, mushrooms (if using), and 1/2 cup of the mushroom broth.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the tortellini is cooked through.  While the pasta is cooking, prepare the crostini.  

Remove the pot from the heat and add spinach.  Stir for several minutes, until the spinach has just wilted.  Serve immediately with crostini.  Enjoy!! 

for the crostini

  • one small ciabatta loaf, sliced diagonally 
  • 1/4 cup roasted walnut oil 
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan 

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set oven on the broiler setting. 

Lay the sliced ciabatta out onto the prepared sheet pan and brush with walnut oil.  Cover with freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle each toast with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of grated parmesan. 

Place under the broiler for about 3 minutes; until golden and toasted.  Serve alongside warm stew.  Enjoy! 

Cook's Note: This stew is best served as soon as possible as it will begin to thicken as it sits due to the starchy nature of the squash and pasta. 


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You can shop all of the items linked below online, or find them at your local Cost Plus World Market store!