My mom would start baking Christmas cookies about 4 weeks before Christmas. Soon the house would begin to smell of orange zest, cinnamon, toasted nuts and chocolate. As
these different aromas started wafting through the house, all of us kids would know that the countdown to Christmas had begun. She would produce up to 30 different kinds of cookies, all well researched from cookbooks and magazines. Some were multi-layered, others glazed with orange sugar glaze or filled with homemade marmalade, also coconut macaroons, vanilla kipferl, mini linzer tarts, hazel nut logs...the list goes on and on. If I think about it, I can't help myself but marvel and reminisce about how she baked them every year.
I regret that I didn't inherit the baker gene from her or have her cookie recipe box, however I lucked out by inheriting her cooking gene.
Here is my favorite holiday dessert. The flavors and texture in this dessert remind me of family holidays and the happy side of my childhood.
Have no fear, it's very easy to make:
- 6 peeled, cored and sliced in half pears (recommend Bosc, Bartlet or Anjou)
- 1 bottle of red wine ( any kind of red will do )
- 1/2 to 1 cup of granulated sugar ( I go easy on the sugar)
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 2 bay leafs, cloves, orange or lemon zest, ( let your inner holiday child guide you)
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Once the wine mixture is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer for about 20 minutes. If you started with juicy soft pears you're most likely done, check with knife if they are tender, if not give them another 10 minutes. Pour the pears into a bowl with the wine sauce, let cool down and hide them from two legged predators in the refrigerator. For the final dessert, move the pears to the dessert plate and reduce the wine sauce in your sauce pan. Add one scoop of vanilla ice-cream to each pear and pour the hot wine reduction over the ice-cream and the pear.
Drawgers, I wish you the very happiest of holidays. It’s been quite a year, and I’ve loved spending it with you.