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Red Wine Poached Pears

Red Wine Poached Pears with spices is a simple and impressive dessert that is equally at home at a dinner party or family meal.

These delicious pears glisten with wine syrup and are fragrant with spices. Included is a special ingredient that balances out the sweetness.

4 poached pears in red wine in a grey shallow bowl with spoon pouring red syrup over a pear

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 stewed pear recipe, bake pears into this fantastic Pear Cake, or combine pears and chocolate into a tart, cooking brings out all the natural flavors. 

This Red Wine Poached Pears recipe is one of my favorite ways to cook this fruit.

Ingredients

The Ingredients for the recipe prepared on a wooden cutting board

The ingredients needed for this red wine poached pear 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:-

  • Pears – these should be only just ripe but not soft. Any variety will work for this recipe – bartlett or bosc pears are two of my favorites.
  • Sugar – I use white granulated sugar. Substitute raw or brown sugar if you prefer though the syrup will be a different color.
  • Red wine – choose a medium, dry red wine that you like to drink. This will create a delicious red wine sauce.
  • Flavorings – a cinnamon stick, whole cloves, and peppercorns which are all available at the grocery store. A small number of peppercorns adds a delicious savory note to this sweet dessert. I used cracked peppercorns because that is what I had but whole peppercorns can be used – you would only need 3 or 4 peppercorns for this recipe.
  • Balsamic vinegar – this adds some acidity which balances out the sweetness.

Substitutions

  • Red wine – substitute medium dry white wine for the red wine.
  • Flavorings – try cardamom, whole allspice berries, star anise, or bay leaf.

Variations

  • Orange – Add a strip of orange peel and orange juice to the poaching liquid.
  • Vanilla – Include a split vanilla bean.  
  • Child-friendly – use water instead of wine for a mild, child-friendly taste.

Instructions

A 4 photo collage of instructions to make the recipe
  1. Prepare the poaching liquid by combining the ingredients and heating until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. In the meantime, peel the pears. If desired, remove the core by hollowing out at the base.
  3. Lay the pears down in the simmering liquid and cover with cartouche and lid. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid. Lift the cartouche and carefully turn the pears over. Replace cartouche and continue cooking until tender.

Hint: Peel the pears after preparing the poaching liquid because the pears will brown if peeled too far ahead.

Tips for success and FAQ

photo collage of how to make a baking paper cartoucheche
What is a cartouche and why is it used?

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 the surface doesn’t dry out. In this case, it also ensures that the pears remain submerged.

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 the 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 it right down so that it touches the liquid completely.

How long can these poached pears keep in the refrigerator?

Store poached pears in the refrigerator in the cooking liquid for 5-7 days. 

Which pears are best for poaching?

The best pears to use for poaching are ones that hold their shape. Bartlett or Bosc pears are the varieties I prefer. Be sure to purchase firm, not quite ripe pears. Fully ripe, soft pears will lose their shape and fall apart.

What type of red wine should I buy?

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 decent one. Because the wine is simmered for so long the alcohol content will evaporate. 

Four finished pears in a grey bowl viewed from above

How to serve

Red Wine Poached Pears are so flavourful that they don’t need much. Serve these red wine pears with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a spoonful of creamy mascarpone cheese, or whipped cream for a luscious dessert.

A poached pear sitting upright in red syrup on a white plate

These Red Wine Poached Pears are a delicious, fruity dessert that are the perfect ending to any meal. I know you will enjoy this recipe.

More recipes like this

Baked Peaches
Roasted Fruit with Prosecco and Honey
Mini Plum Tartlets from It’s Not Complicated
Puff Pastry Apple Tart

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4 red wine poached pears in grey shallow bowl with spoon pouring red syrup over a pear

Poached Pear Recipe

This poached pear recipe 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.
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings:4 people
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

  • 4 pears
  • 2 cups medium dry red wine
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns whole or cracked

Instructions

  • 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

Notes

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.
  1. 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.
  2. Unfold and check that you have cut enough off to fit the pan.
  3. Now scrunch it! Yep, this will help it fit well into the pan.
  4. Lay the cartouche over the liquid and push right down so that it touches the liquid completely.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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10 Comments

  1. A wonderful sweet dish for this time of year! I make it from time to time but I learned something new in the use the cartouche. Sounds like an excellent idea, which I’ll give a try soon, perhaps even for tonight’s dinner… !

  2. 5 stars
    Poached pears are one of my favourite dessert in winter, so good to serve at the end of a dinner party! I love the idea of adding balsamic vinegar to them – what a clever addition!

  3. These are stunningly beautiful! And you’re right – it’s a safer bet too cook them then risk them raw and not tasting good!