Looking for the perfect cold-weather recipe to impress guests and family members? How about Armagnac Spiced Pears from the Château Lassègue Seillan family’s secret recipe?
The Seillans family can trace their heritage back to the 15th century in the Gers region of France, where Armagnac is produced. In 1857, Jules Seillan, Nicolas’ great-great-great-grandfather, designed the viticultural map of Armagnac, which was adopted as the classification of the terroirs of the region. Jules also cultivated the Armagnac grape varieties.
Now the seventh generation of the family to run Château Lassègue, Nicolas’ wife, Christina, explains: “We love making Armagnac spiced pears when the temperatures start to drop and around the holidays. It’s a little unexpected – not too rich, and the Armagnac adds warmth. The spices and toasted hazelnuts are a perfect complement to a glass of Lassègue, and this is a favorite way for us to end the evening.”
Christina Seillan’s Armagnac Spiced Pears
3 Bosc or Anjou pears
½ cup hazelnuts
12 oz. Greek yogurt
¼ cup sugar
Seeds of one vanilla bean, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Armagnac
Preheat oven to 350. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet to toast for 8-12 minutes, or until golden. Reserve to cool.
Slice the pears in ¼ inch slices, avoiding the core.
Place the sliced pears in a large skillet, adding water to just touch the top edge of the pears.
Sprinkle the sugar, seeds of the vanilla bean, a generous dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, and drizzle the Armagnac over the pear slices. Simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the pears are tender and most of the liquid is evaporated leaving a caramelized sauce, flipping the pears gently halfway through.
Meanwhile, grind the hazelnuts in a small food processor, or crush roughly with the bottom of a mug and reserve. Stir a generous dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to the Greek yogurt to taste, and spread the spiced Greek yogurt in an even layer over four dessert plates. Carefully arrange the pear slices over the spiced Greek yogurt, sprinkle the crushed hazelnuts over the top, and finish with a drizzle of the caramel sauce and a few grains of sea salt and serve with a glass of Lassègue Saint Émilion Grand Cru.