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Title: Poached Pears with Dark Chocolate Sauce
Categories: Dessert Fruit Microwave
Yield: 4 Servings

1tbGrated orange rind
2tbFresh gingerroot, grated
4 Whole black peppercorns
4 Firm ripe pears
1/3cLemon juice
2 1-ounce squares semisweet chocolate
2tbWhipping cream
1tbLight corn syrup
1tbGrand Marnier or brandy
1/2tsVanilla extract

Combine first 6 ingredients in a 2-quart casserole. Microwave at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Peel pears, and core just from the bottom, cutting to, but not through, the stem end. Baste pears with lemon juice. Place pears on their sides in brandy mixture in casserole. Cover tightly with heavy-duty plastic wrap; fold back a small edge of wrap to allow steam to escape. Microwave at HIGH 4 minutes. Uncover, baste pears with brandy mixture, and turn them over. Cover and microwave at HIGH 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. (A sharp knife should pierce the fruit as it would room-temperature butter, yet fruit should retain its shape.) Let pears cool in liquid, turning and basting once. Place pears on individual serving dishes. Place chocolate in a 1-quart glass bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 to 3 minutes or until melted, stirring every minute. Cool slightly. Add whipping cream, corn syrup, Grand Marnier, and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spoon chocolate sauce over pears. Yield: 4 servings.