Poached pears are an easy, delicious and elegant dessert. The pears can also be added to a salad or served alongside a cheese platter. Always use wine that you’re willing to drink. A sweeter white wine works for this recipe such as Chardonnay or a Riesling. Firm pears like Anjou or Bosc are the best type to poach, as they hold their shape. You’ll peel the pears leaving the stem intact, but also slice a 1/2 inch off of the bottom to create a flat surface for the pear to stand for serving. Make sure to rotate the pears a few times while they’re simmering, so the wine soaks the pears evenly. You can store the pears in the poaching liquid in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine the wine, honey, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, vanilla and cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the pears and lower heat to medium low. Cook the pears for about 20 to 30 minutes, until pears are tender but not falling apart. Turn the pears very gently so they cook evenly. The pears are done when a knife inserted into the pear goes through easily. Remove the pears to a plate and set aside to cool. Bring the poaching liquid to a rapid boil and then lower the heat and let it reduce down until it’s thick and syrup-like, about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and let it cool. Pour the syrup over the pears and serve.