Poached Pears And Mascarpone In Asian Syrup

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Washington Post


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8 firm, medium (3 1/2 pounds) pears, such as red, Bartlett or Bosc

1 bottle (750 ml) white wine, such as chardonnay

4 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 stalk lemon grass, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

1-inch piece (unpeeled) ginger root, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices

4 wide strips orange peel

6 whole star anise

4 green cardamom pods, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3/4 cup mascarpone cheese

4 store-bought scones or almond croissants, trimmed into 2 3/4-inch rounds and cut in half horizontally (optional)

1 ounce (1/3 cup) sliced almonds, toasted (see NOTE)

Mint sprigs, for garnish

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