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How to make poached pears

How to make poached pears

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There's something so moreish and luxurious about poached pears – they’re ridiculously easy to make and really look the part for a fancy Christmas dessert.

Poached pears make the ideal winter warmer as they’re comforting, look fabulous and take no time at all to prepare. In this method of gentle, stove-top cooking, the pears are slowly simmered with all sorts of syrups and spices to bring out their delicate and distinct flavours. What makes them even better is that you can serve them any way you want. They’re delicious in their own right, drizzled with a spot of cream, stewed in a spicy wine or even chopped up and served with crepes and yoghurts. The possibilities are near endless!

The key is to remember that the longer the pears sit in the flavourful syrup after poaching, the better they’ll taste – making this an ideal option for those who like to plan and prepare ahead. The fruit becomes tender, reduces down and absorbs the beautifully concentrated flavour of the liquid. You can create a simple poaching liquid by mixing two parts liquid (such as water, wine, or fruit juice) with one part sugar. Follow our simple tips below for perfectly poached pears, and for the full ingredients list and method, check out our recipe from super saffron poached pears.

  1. Peel 4 medium pears, leaving the stalk intact. Place them them into a saucepan with crushed cardamom pods, caster sugar, a vanilla pod, saffron, a cinnamon stick and 1 litre of water.

  2. Poach for 2 hours or until the pears are tender, then remove them from the heat and allow them to cool.

  3. Boil the leftover syrup until it reduces to a sticky glaze.
  4. Serve the pears with 2 tablespoons of the saffron glaze and pouring cream.

Not only is this fruit dessert delicious, it’s also a great way of getting one of your five-a-day. You could also try your hand at these gorgeous baked pears with wine and walnut cream, pears in Amarone, or buckwheat crepes with poached apples and pears.

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The portobello mushroom is one of the most popular varieties of mushrooms in the world. Known as natural cancer-fighters and providing numerous health benefits, so portobellos are a tasty addition to your diet. Whether you are going low-carb, want to partake in Meatless Monday, or are on a plant-based diet, portobellos will become a staple [&hellip]

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Muffins and bread and pie, oh my! We absolutely love blueberry season. Every bite of these blueberry recipes is bursting with flavor and is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. From lemon blueberry bread to basil blueberry muffins to blueberry cream cheese french toast, your taste buds will be begging you to make these blueberry recipes ASAP!

Recipe Summary

  • 4 firm, medium-size pears, such as Anjou, Bartlett, or Bosc
  • 1 bottle robust red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, or Merlot
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 whole bay leaf

Peel the pears, and place in medium saucepan. Add wine, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, orange peel, lemon peel, cloves, star anise, bay leaf, and just enough water to cover pears.

Set saucepan over high heat, and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, occasionally stirring gently, over medium-low heat, until a paring knife easily pierces pears, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat let pears cool in liquid.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a plate. Pour poaching liquid through a sieve set over a bowl. Discard solids, and return liquid to saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, and cook until liquid has been reduced to a syrup that coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 45 minutes. Let cool store pears in an airtight container until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, arrange pears on a platter or on individual plates, and drizzle poaching liquid over them.

How to pick out pears?

For a poached pear recipe, you want to use pears that are perfectly ripe. Underripe pears won&rsquot cook as well, and overripe pears will fall apart during the poaching process.

It&rsquos actually quite easy to see whether a pear is ripe.

Simply press your finger into the spot where the stem meets the pear: if the spot is soft and tender but the rest of the pear is firm, you&rsquove got a ripe pear.

What&rsquos more, ripe pears have a mildly sweet and floral aroma.

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 pears
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 star anise

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon juice and pears and let sit for 2 minutes. Remove pears from the hot water 1 at a time and carefully peel, leaving stem intact.

Combine wine, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and star anise in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Rinse pears and add to the boiling wine mixture. Use a plate on top of pears to keep them submerged. Simmer until a knife very easily pierces the pears, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and allow pears to cool in the wine mixture.

Serve pears in a bowl, either whole or sliced and cored.

Easy Dessert Recipe: Honey and Spice Poached Pears

Poached pears, so elegant and refined, are also my idea of a party trick. They feel fancy but are the dinner hostess’s dream dessert. They cook ahead of time and hold perfectly in the fridge until they are wanted. And while they are cooking they perfume the house so sweetly. What more could you want in a light spring dessert?

Over-wintered woody fruit like apples and pears are the best way to enjoy fruit in the spring, before strawberries and rhubarb emerge. But cooking them gently in a poaching syrup is a light, delicate way of enjoying these firm fruits — this recipe in particular yields a delicately tender pear, with just hints of spice and warm undertones of honey.

They cook so fast, and the fruit and syrup are perfect over pudding or in a tart, or spooned over oatmeal for breakfast.

If you want to get extra fancy you can serve them with crème anglaise custard sauce (which can also be made ahead) and a square of baked puff pastry (you can buy frozen puff pastry at the grocery store). Simple, easy, do-head dessert that looks like it cost a million bucks and belongs on a white tablecloth at a restaurant!

This is also an alcohol-free poached pear recipe no red or white wine needed.

How To Cook Pears: 10 Sweet and Savory Recipes You'll Love

Pears are one of the few fruits that are in season throughout fall and winter. Desserts are a natural use for this delicate fruit but do you know how to cook pears in other ways?

Our lineup of pear recipes includes a succulent risotto, sophisticated quiches prepared with French cheese, an easy smoothie recipe and delightful desserts no one will be able to resist.

Give these recipes a go and use them as inspiration to cook pears in other tasty ways.

Ingredients of Simple Poached Pears

How to make Simple Poached Pears

Step 1

To make this delectable dessert recipe, boil water in a saucepan over medium flame and add sugar along with cinnamon. The cinnamon stick should be around 7 cm. Let the syrup boil for 2 minutes and then reduce the flame to low. Stir occasionally to ensure that the syrup doesn't burn.

Step 2

Meanwhile, wash the pears and peel them. Then lay them on a chopping board and cut them vertically into two equal halves.

Step 3

Now, carefully place the pears in the sugar-cinnamon syrup and cook them until they get tender. Keep the pan covered with a lid. Ensure that the pears are cooked over low flame.

Step 4

Cook the pears for about 10-15 minutes and once done, transfer the pears to a serving plate. Leave the sugar and cinnamon syrup on heat until it thickens. After 5 minutes, remove the syrup from the heat as well.

Step 5

Drizzle the sugar and cinnamon syrup over the pears and serve immediately!

Port Wine Poached Pears

Poached in a mixture of port wine and spices, these pears make a beautiful, elegant dessert for holiday and special occasions.


  • 6 medium, barely ripe pears (Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc)
  • 3-1/2 cups port wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 large strips lemon zest (1/2-inch wide x 2-inches long)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves


  1. Place the port, water, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon peel, cinnamon stick and cloves in a deep saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving the stems on. Using a melon baller or small spoon, carefully hollow out the core and seeds through the bottom. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that they'll stand upright for serving.
  3. Place the pears in the pan and lower the heat to medium so that the liquid simmers gently. Cook, turning gently and basting every 3 minutes for even flavor and color, until the pears are tender when pierced with a thin knife, 12 to 18 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool for 10 minutes in the liquid.
  4. Transfer the pears to a platter and continue cooking the poaching liquid until it reduces to the consistency of maple syrup. To serve, make a small pool of syrup on each serving plate, set a pear on top and drizzle with a bit of extra syrup.


Recipe Notes:

The pears can be made ahead and refrigerated. Just bring them to room temperature before serving. You may need to warm the syrup to pouring consistency.


Sugar and spice: Lindsey Bareham and Simon Hopkinson use a little sweetener and add cloves. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian

Sugar is obviously a must, though I tend towards Bareham and Hopkinson’s more modest amount than the rather intense sweetness of Claiborne’s version. A rather festive touch of spice is also popular, and David’s tastes very dull without such adornment.

Everyone else uses cinnamon, which feels like a good match with the pears, as do Bareham and Hopkinson’s cloves, though no one picks up their peppercorns, to my disappointment. Vanilla, also used by Smith and Oliver, tastes cloying to me, but fans enjoy the flavour, so I have included it as an optional extra. The savouriness of Oliver’s thyme divides opinion – I like it, and once I am finally sick of mulled wine (probably around 2 December), I will be trying it on its own with sugar, and perhaps a curl of lemon peel.

Citrus is another key flavour here almost every recipe contains orange or lemon zest (I favour the latter for its useful bitterness) and Oliver adds some orange juice too, though this gets lost in the welter of sweet spiced wine.

Recipe Summary

  • 6 firm ripe Anjou pears (2 3/4 pounds), peeled
  • 1 (500-milliliter) bottle Vino Santo or other sweet dessert wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 (3-inch) vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ¼ teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 6 tablespoons crème fraîche (optional)
  • Ground cinnamon (optional)

Remove cores from blossom ends of pears, leaving stem end intact. If necessary, cut about 1/4 inch from base of each pear so it sits flat. Place wine, sugar, and orange juice in an oval 5-quart electric slow cooker stir until sugar dissolves. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean stir seeds and bean into wine mixture. Add juniper berries and cinnamon stick. Set pears in wine mixture. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until pears are tender.

Remove pears from cooking liquid. Cut pears in half. Place pear halves in dessert dishes.

Pour cooking liquid into a sieve over a medium saucepan discard solids. Bring to a boil boil 20 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Drizzle sauce evenly over pears. Top with crème fraîche and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.


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