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Gourmet Style

The Sweet Life: Throw a Dessert-Tasting Party!


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"Prep these pears the day before.  Then you can just chill out and enjoy the party." —Chef Fred DeAngelo
Cake stand, plates and forks, from Williams-Sonoma.

Photo by Olivier Koning

Ever notice how we call our loved ones things like Sweetie, Sweetness or Sugar? We whisper sweet nothings, too. Perhaps sugar produces such euphoria that a comparison between love and dessert is apt. Why not delight your loved ones and invite them over for a dessert-tasting party? After all, dinner guests can be hard to please—one’s a vegetarian, one’s a carnivore—but you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like dessert. If you do, I guess you won’t call him Sweetums.


Pinot Noir Poached Pears

Serves six

1   bottle pinot noir            
1     orange        
1     small piece fresh ginger, peeled       
½     cup honey               
3     star anise
2     cups water               
6     Bartlett pears           
1     vanilla bean           
1     cup mascarpone cheese   
1½ ounces sugar *              
6     ounces chopped macadamia nuts


Chef Fred DeAngelo prepares to poach the pears (left). Later, he fills the pears with a macadamia-nut filling.

Photos by Olivier Koning

* For serious baking, it’s best to weigh ingredients. If you don’t use a scale for cooking and need help converting ounces into, say, cups, there are conversion tables available on the Internet.

Photo by Olivier Koning


Fred DeAngelo is the chef/owner of Ola at Turtle Bay Resort, 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, 293-0801. Ola won Best New Oahu Restaurant, silver, in the 2007 HONOLULU Magazine Hale Aina Awards.


1.  To make the macadamia-nut filling:

Toast the chopped macadamia nuts, then cool. In a small bowl, mix the mascarpone, sugar and four ounces of the toasted nuts (reserve the rest for later). Seed half the vanilla bean pod and add the seeds to the filling. Mix well and refrigerate.

2.  To poach the pears: 

In a medium-size saucepot, juice the orange, and place the juiced halves in the pot. Add the wine, honey, sliced ginger, star anise and water, and bring to a slow simmer. Peel the pears, place gently into poaching liquid and cook until tender. (A sharp knife will pierce the pear base with little resistance when done.) Remove the pears from the pot, place into a deep pan and cover pears with poaching liquid. Refrigerate overnight. This will intensify the color.

3.  To assemble: 

Remove the pears from the poaching liquid, place liquid into saucepan and reduce until syrupy. From the bottom, core the pears with a paring knife, and then fill the cavity with the macadamia-nut filling. Drizzle with pear reduction and top with the remainder of the toasted macadamia nuts.

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Honolulu Magazine June 2018
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