i get so excited about the yogurt!  what is it all about?  every week, it is the most exciting part of brunch for me to think about…  i guess i love it so much because i have started thinking of the whole dish with the “pastry chef” part of my brain.  which i try really hard to repress, but it keeps poking out!

the year or so that i spent doing mostly pastry work was very hard on me.  going through culinary school, everyone assumes (or used to) that the girls all wanted to be pastry chefs.  and i didn’t think that i wanted to be one.  all the measuring and science- and then in fine dining, all the itty bitty little bites of sweet..  it all just seemed too precise… so i fought against the pastry stuff for a long time.

BUT!  i must say that while i hated working that year in pastry and hated feeling like i wasn’t a cook because i was measuring and baking and playing with fruit and chocolate and lots of butter–  it was such a wonderful learning experience and has completely influenced the way i cook!  and the way i think of our yogurt “parfait”!

this week, i was thinking of wine poached pears…  which pair perfectly with something creamy and vanilla = yogurt!

peeled 12 pears, leaving the stems.  placed them in a heavy bottomed pan and poured a bunch (6 c. -ish) of  red wine* over top..  added 4 c. sugar, a light sprinkle of cinnamon, a lighter sprinkle of nutmeg and clove.  spooned the mix over the pears and set the whole thing on low heat for a bit, spooning more liquid over the pears when i thought of it (which was often because the smell of everything heating up was AMAZING!)  flippped the pears over once, during a 30 minute period-you’ll notice the side facing down gets a deeper red color.

i left the pears in the liquid in the fridge overnight.  in the morning, i cut them in half and scooped out the seeds and the strand of tough that runs from the stem to the bottom, leaving the stem- for effect.

yayayaya!  this is such a perfect combination of flavors for this season.  the mulled wine flavor with the sweet pear and the creamy vanilla honey yogurt.  wow.  i think i’ve outdone any other yogurt thus far!

*red wine–  this is the season for drinking red wine, and i constantly have a few cups left in the bottle after a few days.  at this point, the wine isn’t optimal for drinking, but it is optimal for using in cooking.  i save these bottles up and keep them around for times like this: poaching liquid!

these pears were poached in a few different types of wine, but most of a bottle of this DUNHAM CELLARS MERLOT went into the pot.  made by my sister, jenna (and others) in walla walla, WA.  the empty bottle will live on our shelf, but i’m glad the juice went to such a worthy cause!