If you're feeling completely calorie overloaded at this point in the holidays, but still have some entertaining to do, fruit desserts are the perfect solution.
These pears are absolutely gorgeous after they've been poached, and can be served whole like this or split in half. When you cut into them you'll see the purple on the outside but the creamy color on the inside.
Pears Poached in Red Wine with Chocolate Sauce
8 pears, Anjou or Bartlett best
4 cups red wine, fruity best
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon orange zest, from 1 orange
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
Peel pears and core from the bottom, making sure to leave stems intact. Mix red wine, sugar, peppercorns and orange zest in a saucepan just large enough to fit the pears into it, the place pears upright in the poaching liquid. Bring just barely to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Partially cover and simmer until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from heat and allow pears to cool in the poaching liquid.
Just before serving, heat cream over medium high heat in a small saucepan until just barely bubbling around the edges. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until completely melted. To serve, drizzle chocolate sauce on a dessert plate and set a poached pear in the center. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.