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Cooking With Wine - Poached Pears


Welcome to our blog series on cooking with wine in which we continue our culinary adventure with a recipe for our Poached Pears. These are a perfect way to end dinner on a healthy note!

Before we begin, there’s one thing that we find really handy and that’s to know a few things up front. First, how long will it take to prep, cook, set aside, refrigerate, etc. before it’s ready to eat? Second, how many people will it serve? Lastly, the grocery list.


Nice to know details

As a general rule, allow for:

  • 20 minutes preparation
  • 30 minutes cooking
  • 3 to 24 hours set aside
  • 4 servings


Grocery List

  • Lemons (2)
  • Firm pears (4)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot (1 bottle)
  • Granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • Cinnamon sticks (1)
  • Cloves (2)
  • Peppercorns (2)
  • Ginger root (1 inch)
  • Vanilla pod (1 small)
  • Fresh basil leaves (4 cuttings)


Prepare the lemons

  • Zest 2 lemons and set the zest aside
  • Squeeze the lemons over a strainer, capture the juice in a medium bowl and set aside


Prepare the pears

  • Peel 4 pears, keeping the stem intact and taking care not to blemish them
  • Slice 1/2 inch off the bottom of the pears
  • Place the pears in the bowl with the lemon juice
  • Turn the pears over in the juice to make sure they are covered in juice


Poach the pears

  • Pour 2 cups of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot into a heavy 4 quart saucepan
  • Add the zest of 2 lemons and also the juice in which the pears were drenched
  • Measure 1/4 cup of granulated sugar into the saucepan
  • Add 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cloves and 2 peppercorns
  • Cut 1 inch of ginger root into 1/4-inch slices and place in the saucepan
  • Slice 1 small vanilla pod down the middle lengthwise and add both halves to the saucepan
  • Stir and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Add the pears gently to the saucepan
  • Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, turning pears every 5 minutes to make sure they are evenly coloured
  • When pears are cooked but still firm, remove the saucepan from the heat
  • Place the pears upright in the saucepan and allow them to cool
  • Refrigerate the pears in the saucepan for 3 to 24 hours


Make the syrup

  • Move the pears from the saucepan to a plate and let them come to room temperature
  • Over a medium-high heat, reduce the poaching liquid by about half (about 15 minutes)
  • Once the liquid is slightly syrupy, remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature



  • Slice each pear in half and remove the pits
  • Leave one half of each pear intact and slice the other half almost to the top
  • Fan out the sliced half on a serving plate
  • Place the half pear face up on the plate
  • Drizzle 2 tablespoons syrup over each serving
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves



We recommend serving this lovely dessert with the remaining wine. It’s always best to serve the same wine used during cooking. This always helps to enhance both the flavours in the dish and also the wine.



  • If you prefer Japanese pears, they are a great option
  • You can use 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract in place of the vanilla pod
  • To add some sweetness, you can put a dollop of raspberry compote in the pit hole of the half pear
  • You can also add a large dollop of Mascarpone cheese


We hope you enjoy this Cooking With Wine – Poached Pears.

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