PUBLISHED: 10:48 AM on Wednesday, February 2, 2005
Empress Pink Pear Lanterns
8 firm, ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears

3 cups white Zinfandel wine

1/2 cup sugar

4 slices fresh ginger root, each about 1/4 inch thick

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup orange juice

1 carton (8 oz.) cr?me fra?che

Leaving stems attached, core and peel pears. Cut thin slice off bottom of each pear. Combine wine, sugar, ginger and cinnamon in Dutch oven or large saucepan; bring to boil. Add pears. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 to 25 minutes, or until pears are tender when tested with toothpick, turning pears over occasionally. Remove pears; cover and chill. Meanwhile, add orange juice to saucepan; bring to boil. Cook until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard spices. Pour sauce into bowl; cover and chill. Cut pears in half crosswise. Remove top halves and fill centers with cr?me fra?che, spreading to edges; replace tops. To serve, spread 2 tablespoons wine sauce onto dessert plates; place pears on sauce.

Makes 8 servings.