Poached pears, when done well, are such a treat.
Your fork should glide through the flesh and every bite should have the essence of the spices and poaching liquid playing in the background.
In writing my new cookbook: Easy Dutch Oven Cooking, I simply had to include this elegant dessert recipe for red-wine poached pears. It’s a great example of how convenient dessert can be.
As you can see, the poaching liquid (the red wine) becomes a sticky, sweet sauce for the pear. You can reduce the red wine as much or as little as you like. I recommend simmering until it coats the back of a spoon.
About The Recipe
This recipe is one pot, made in a moderate side Dutch oven. It’s gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegetarian/vegan and low sugar. I recommend using the star anise pods, which have a nice anise flavor, but you could just as easily use vanilla bean, cardamom pods, or a cinnamon stick.
Best Wine For Poaching Pears
During my culinary school days, we were tested on poaching pears. At that time, I used apple juice as the poaching liquid (SO GOOD!).
Since then, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different types of red and white wines. I like the way the pear takes on the color and flavor of red wine the most.
Ingredient Tip: For this recipe, choose a wine that is somewhere between dry and sweet, such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Although you could try a sweet wine like port, I recommend leaving the added sugar out because the sweetness intensifies as the sauce reduces.
This is truly an impressive dessert for any occasion and can even be made a day or two in advance. It can be served hot or cold; I often just serve mine at room temperature. I recommend a half a pear per person and a spoonful of the red wine reduction sauce.
For garnish, toasted nuts, blue cheese, or whipped cream are all good options.
More Dutch Oven Eye Candy
- Rise-and-Shine Brandy Berry French Toast Casserole
- Roast Whole Chicken over Radishes
- Irish Soda Bread
- Tomato Braised Pork Ragu
Red Wine-Poached Pears
- 3 Bosc pears
- 2 cups red wine such as Cabernet or Merlot
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 star anise pods optional
- Prepare the pears. Peel the pears and halve them lengthwise. Remove the seeds and core. Set the pear halves in the Dutch oven and pour the red wine on top. Add the vanilla, sugar, and star anise (if using).
- Poach. Bring the wine to a low simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook for 8 minutes, checking frequently to ensure the liquid is bubbling only slightly. Flip the pears and cook for about 8 minutes more, until a skewer pierces the pear flesh very easily. Transfer the pears to shallow serving bowls.
- Reduce the wine. With the lid off, bring the liquid to boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, just until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Drizzle a large spoonful of sauce over each pear and serve. Refrigerate leftovers with the sauce for up to 3 days.
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