Red Wine Poached Apples with Mascarpone and Pistachios

Didn’t I just commit to “no sugar” in the new year?  Yes!  Yes, I did, and this genuinely luscious little dessert does not break that promise in any way.  There is no added sugar here, and trust that it will not be missed at all.  The wine–a limited-edition, Conservancy red from Concannon Vineyards— adds a gorgeous blackberry note to the natural sweetness of the apples, plus the mascarpone adds nutty, rich flavor.  It’s a decadent little dessert with layers of flavor, texture, and color.

You can use any kind of firm, tart-sweet apple for this dessert, and for this I used some organic Pink Lady apples from California.  They work well for poaching because they hold their texture without turning mealy.  Granny Smith apples work well for poaching but are far less sweet, so if you want the same sweet/tart balance you could also go with Cortlands or Honey Crisp apples.

For the poaching liquid I used Concannon Vineyards 2009 Conservancy Crimson and Clover, which is a beautifully balanced red blend that reduced into an opulent syrup that I served with the finished dessert.  Here is the technique:

Red Wine Poached Apples with Mascarpone and Pistachios
1 1/4 cups fruity red wine, such as Crimson and Clover
1/2 vanilla bean (or two teaspoons good-quality vanilla extract)
1/4 cup water
2 firm, tart-sweet apples, peeled, halved, and cored
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup shelled, roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
fresh lemon zest

Pour the wine into a medium saucepan with a lid.  Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the wine, and then toss in the pod.  Stir in the water and add the apples.  Bring to a low boil and cook, covered, for about ten minutes, or until the exteriors of the apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, but the centers still feel a little firm.  If you prefer completely soft fruit, cook for another five to ten minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the apples and the vanilla bean pod from the liquid.  Bring the wine mixture back to a boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a syrupy consistency.  This will take about five minutes.

Fill each apple with about three tablespoons of mascarpone and serve on some of the reduced wine syrup.  Sprinkle with some of the pistachios and lemon zest and serve.  This is beautiful warm or cold, but if you plan to serve it cold do not assemble until you are ready to serve, or your mascarpone will turn an alarming color.  Serves four.

This less-beautiful shot is to show you the interior of the cooked apples–if you cook them longer they will go totally soft and will absorb the color of the wine all the way through.  This is a personal preference, but I like the textural contrast of leaving the centers of the apples a little firm.  With the mascarpone, you will feel like you are eating the most elegant little cheesecake.

Disclaimer: I received a marketing sample of Crimson and Clover, but was not monetarily compensated for this post, and all opinions, as always, are honest and true as the day is long. Plus they are mine.  You get the idea.

Thanks for reading,


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  1. Looks perfect for a special occasion…maybe Valentine's Day.

  2. If the pictures don't get me excited, reading the description will! This sounds awesome, and I'm ready to dig in!

    I just may have to try this one out real soon!

  3. Thanks!! I honestly loved, loved these, and was happy to find something with no added sugar that tastes so darn good–hope you like them.

  4. Sonali- The Foodie Physician

    Beautiful! I've never poached apples before, only pears. I'll have to try these!

  5. Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet

    Wow, no sugar? Looks good!

  6. Looks absolutely beautiful, Angela. (And incredibly delicious!)

  7. Beautiful dessert! Can't go wrong with a healthy AND delicious dessert!

  8. Melissa Rheinlander

    I had the pleasure of reviewing the Crimson and Clover… it was so GOOOOD!!!

  9. Melissa, I agree–I loved it! Beautifully fruity and smooth.

  10. It looks awesome,Angela! I would never guess that's an apple 🙂

  11. Hi Angela-thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog! I do sincerely hope that the Fairy Hobmother visits you. I cannot begin to tell you how many blogs I mentioned her whom she visited, and it's better to mention what kind of small appliance you need. A better gift, this way. My daughter also mentioned that she needed a new blender, since her old one died…wouldn't you know, she got her wish, and a great blender, at that!

    Your poached apple in the red wine, with pistachios are gorgeous, and very delicious! Your presentation is superb!

  12. Thanks Elisabeth! Would love to get my wish "granted" and be able to pass it on to a reader.

  13. Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things

    Ah this looks delicious… love the no sugar aspect. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Thanks so much for linking up to my weekly Pinterest party-I'm so happy you joined in!

    Best wishes for a great week,
    Natasha @ 5 Minutes Just for Me

  15. Wow, this looks beautiful! And I bet it tastes amazing. Would love to make this as a dessert for a dinner party 🙂

    1. Thanks Aimee! It does make an elegant looking plate–and really easy.

  16. Looks beautiful and tasty!

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