Saturday, November 6, 2010

Red Wine Poached Pears

I tend to go a little overboard when I cook for guests. As much as I love cooking for just Gavin and me, I don't usually go all out when it's just the two of us. But when we have dinner guests, I want all aspects of the dinner to be great. I plan out my menu, pick some good wines, and usually start preparing in advance. I like to do as much of work ahead of time as possible so that I can actually enjoy my company instead of spending the entire time chopping, cooking and worrying that everything will come together. In general, I focus mostly on the dinner and possibly some appetizers or a really good salad. Dessert, on the other hand, usually gets left out. Sometimes I'll pick up some cookies or ask my friends to bring a dessert. I don't do a lot of baking and by the time I have to figure out a dessert, I'd rather not have to do a lot of work.
However, I recently saw a chef on the Cooking Channel (I can't remember which one), making pears poached in red wine and I knew I had to make them. I love pears, especially this time of year. Add some red wine and spices and I'm definitely sold on this dessert. So I scoured the Internet for a recipe that looked good and found a great one on Epicurious. Fortunately this dessert benefits from sitting in the fridge overnight so I could make them the day before our guests were coming and then just let them reheat while we enjoyed dinner. Served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, these pears were warm and sweet and the perfect ending to a great dinner with friends.

Red Wine Poached Pears (serves 4)
  • 1 750 ml bottle dry red wine (I used Merlot)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (from 1 orange, zest before juicing)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 firm pears, peeled, stems left intact
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
In a large pot, combine everything but pears and ice cream.
Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer.
Add pears and simmer slowly until pears are tender when pierced with a knife, but not falling apart, about 35-40 minutes. If liquid is boiling, turn heat to low.
Transfer pears to a plate and set aside.
Boil liquid until it has reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes.
Once pears have cooled, cut in half and scoop out cores with a melon baller or small spoon. (You could leave them whole but that makes them a little harder to eat).
If making ahead, store pears in poaching liquid in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Heat pears and liquid over medium-low heat until warmed through.
Serve 2 halves to each person with a scoop of ice cream with extra liquid drizzled over.
Save the extra poaching liquid to serve over ice cream another night.

For a printable recipe click here


  1. Glorious! I was looking for a dessert to make for my dinner party on Friday!
    Pears and WINE?

  2. i looking for recipe long time "Red wine Poached Pears" Thank you