Red-wine poached pears are beautiful, sweet, tart, spicy and juicy. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect fall dessert! Poaching is a simple way to prepare and serve pears. Both Bosc and Comice pears are perfect for cooking and baking, because they hold their shape well. Unable to find ripe pears of either variety I used Bartlett pears with success, so use any kind of pear you can find. Make sure to rotate the pears every 10 minutes while they’re simmering, so the red wine soaks the pears evenly. Serve the poached pears with the red wine sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
- 2 cups dry red wine (Cabernet or Merlot)
- 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
- 2 strips of zest (peel) from an orange
- Juice of an orange, about 1/2 cup
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2-3 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste (optional)
- 4 firm, almost-ripe pears, peeled with stems left intact. Cut a 1/2 inch from the bottom, for the pears to stand
Combine the wine, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, spices and vanilla in a medium saucepan or small dutch oven, and set on the stovetop over medium heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to simmer, about 5 minutes. Gently lay the pears down in the saucepan. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer slowly for about 25-30 minutes. The pears are done when they’re tender, can be pierced with a knife, but are still intact. Rotate the pears often so the wine sauce coats them evenly. Transfer the pears to a plate and let them cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and orange peel and bring the liquid to boil. Let it reduce down until it’s thick and syrup-like, about 15 minutes. Strain the syrup and drizzle over the pears. Serve the poached pears with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. If serving the next day, cover and store the pears in the sauce overnight in the refrigerator.
Inspiration: Ellie Krieger