Recipe: Red wine poached pears

An elegant yet simple dessert, perfect for autumn evenings. Use pears that are firm, but ripe, if possible with stems attached.

Recipe: Jenny Somervell  

Ready in – 20-25 minutes
Serves – 6-8


8 just-ripe pears
lemon juice and water
½ bottle red wine (use one with a nice deep colour)
1 cup water
4 tbsp sugar
1 stick of cinnamon (5-6cm)
1 vanilla pod
3-4 cloves or star anise
2 bay leaves or a sprig of thyme (optional)


Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the pears so they will stand upright for serving. Peel carefully and place in water with lemon juice added to stop them going brown while they wait.

Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds and put in large saucepan with the wine, sugar, vanilla and spices. Heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Carefully add the pears and bring to a gentle boil. Poach gently until the pears are tender all the way through – swirl occasionally to cover with liquid.

The pears will turn a beautiful wine-red colour and should be tender when pierced all the way through. Remove pears carefully and place in a serving bowl.

Boil the syrup until it is sticky and reduced, then pour over the fruit and chill. Alternatively if you have less time, you can thicken with cornflour, but it will be less clear.

Serve with mascarpone (a delicious Italian cream cheese), Greek yoghurt or ice cream.


Pears will keep in the syrup in a covered container for a couple of weeks.

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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.

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