Poached Pears in Red Wine and Spices is a simple and impressive dessert that is equally at home at a dinner party or family meal.
These delicious pears glisten with syrup and are fragrant with spices. Included is a special ingredient that balances out the sweetness.
Have you fallen out of love with pears? Often when I buy pears, they are hard and unripe. Sometimes, pears are gritty and not very sweet. That’s why I love to cook pears. Whether I make this Roasted Pear recipe, bake pears into this fantastic Pear Cake or combine pears and chocolate into a tart, cooking brings out all the natural flavours.
This Poached Pears in Red Wine and Spices is one of my favourite ways to cook pears.
The ingredients needed for this recipe are simple and you’ve probably got most in your pantry. Just purchase some fresh pears and a bottle of red wine. All you need is:-
- red wine
- cinnamon stick
- whole cloves
and the special ingredient – balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar adds some acidity which balances out the sweetness.
The small amount of peppercorns add a delicious savoury note to this sweet dessert. I used cracked peppercorns because that what I had but whole peppercorns can be used – you would only need 3 or 4 peppercorns for this recipe.
There are a several ways to make this recipe your own and to your own taste.
- Substitute medium dry white wine for the red wine.
- Change the spices – try cardamom, whole allspice berries, star anise or bayleaf.
- Add lemon or orange rind.
- Add a split vanilla pod.
- Use water instead of wine for a more mild taste.
- Prepare the poaching liquid by combining the ingredients and heating until the sugar is dissolved.
- In the meantime, peel the pears. If desired, remove the core by hollowing out at the base.
- Lay the pears down in the simmering liquid and cover with cartouche and lid. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid. Lift the cartouche and carefully turn the pears over. Replace cartouche and continue cooking until tender.
Peel the pears after preparing the poaching liquid because pears will brown if peeled too far ahead.
Tips for success and FAQ’s
A cartouche is a circle of baking paper that sits directly on the liquid. It is used in long slow, cooking so that evaporation is reduced and surface doesn’t dry out. In this case it also ensures that the pears remain submerged.
Take a square of baking paper, fold it evenly in half, then in half again to form a square. Fold the square in half (keeping folded edges together otherwise you will end up with two semicircles) to form a triangle.
Hold pointy tip in the middle of the pan and trim the edge of the triangle to fit. Cut a little off the tip as well.
Unfold and check that you have cut enough off to fit the pan.
Now scrunch it! Yep, this will help it fit well into the pan.
Lay the cartouche over the liquid and push right down so that it touches the liquid completely.
Store poached pears in the refrigerator in the cooking liquid for 5-7 days.
The best pears to use for poaching are ones that hold their shape. Packham or Bosc pears are the varieties I prefer. Be sure to purchase firm, not quite ripe pears. Fully ripe pears will lose their shape and fall apart.
For this poached pear recipe, choose a medium dry red wine. Don’t buy a sweet wine or your dessert will be too sweet. Use a wine that is an easy drinking wine. This isn’t the time to buy the most expensive wine on the shelf however pick a half decent one. Because the wine is simmered for so long the alcohol will be burnt off so this recipe is fine to serve to children.
How to serve
This pear dessert is so flavourful that it doesn’t need much. Simply serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of mascarpone for a luscious dessert.
These Poached Pears in Red Wine and Spices are a delicious, fruity dessert that is the perfect ending to any meal. I know you will enjoy this recipe.
More recipe like this
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Poached Pears in Red Wine recipe
- 4 pears
- 2 cups medium dry red wine
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns whole or cracked
- Place red wine, sugar, water, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon stick, whole cloves and black pepper into a medium size pot that will snuggly fit the pears.
- Bring to the boil.
- While waiting for the wine to boil, peel pears.
- Prepare baking paper cartouche. See notes.
- When the wine mixture is boiling, stir to dissolve sugar.
- Gently lower peeled pears into the wine and reduce to a simmer.
- Scrunch prepared baking paper and place over pears using the back of a spoon to press down.
- Cover pan with the lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid. Lift the paper cartouche and turn pears over and replace paper.
- Continue to simmer, uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Pierce with a skewer or knife to check.
- Remove pears with a slotted spoon to a plate.
- The syrup should have reduced to 1 cup. If not, simmer to reduce to 1 cup.
- If reduced to less than a cup, add enough water to bring the syrup to one cup.
- Strain syrup.
- Cool pears and syrup.
- Serve pears with syrup at room temperature or chilled.
- Delicious with vanilla ice cream
How to make a baking paper cartouche.Take a square of baking paper, fold it evenly in half, then in half again to form a square. Fold the square in half (keeping folded edges together otherwise you will end up with two semicircles) to form a triangle.
- Hold pointy tip in the middle of the pan and trim the edge of the triangle to fit. Cut a little off the tip as well.
- Unfold and check that you have cut enough off to fit the pan.
- Now scrunch it! Yep, this will help it fit well into the pan.
- Lay the cartouche over the liquid and push right down so that it touches the liquid completely.