Though pumpkin may be the highly celebrated fall food, ripe pears poached in red wine make a unique autumnal treat. Jane Rexing, creator of the recipe, tops her pears with chocolate ganache and toasted walnuts, making a dessert to rival other seasonal classics.

“You don’t see many people growing pears around here,” says Rexing. “Maybe this will inspire them to branch out.”

As a 19-year member of the Southwestern Indiana Master Gardener Association, Rexing has done her fair share of planting, baking, and concocting recipes. For many years, Rexing served as the co-chair of the SWIMGA plant sale and the Master Gardener Display Garden (3501 E. Lloyd Expressway), and more recently she has worked on the organization’s cookbook, “Harvest: 30 Years of Growing and Cooking,” where her recipe appears on page 131.

Rexing uses Chinese five spice to give the pears a warm, rich flavor, but she also recommends experimenting with the spice.

“I go by the recipe first,” she says. “But then the sky’s the limit.”

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce

Poaching liquid:
— One 750-milliliter bottle of red table wine
— 2 ¼ cups brown sugar
— 2 ½ tablespoons Chinese five spice powder
— 4 whole cinnamon sticks
— 8 whole cloves
— 1/2 cup water
— 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Chocolate sauce:
— 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
— 1/2 cup heavy cream
— 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients for poaching liquid. Stand 4 firm, ripe Bosc pears, peeled with stems left on, up in the pot. Cover to ensure they are completely submerged. Bring poaching liquid to a simmer and poach pears until fully cooked. A toothpick should be able to be easily inserted into the pear. Remove pears from the poaching liquid and let cool.

In a double boiler, heat cream. Add the chocolate and whisk until well blended. Let chocolate sauce cool until slightly thickened. Carefully spoon chocolate sauce over each pear and garnish with toasted walnuts.

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