Poaching pears is an easy way to create a delicious dessert that looks stunning and tastes sublime. Fresh ripe pears simmered in red wine – now that’s 5 star cuisine.

Poaching pears takes about 40 minutes to complete but you also need to allow a couple of hours for cooling. So, if you’re making this dessert for a dinner party leave yourself plenty of time.

The Secret’s in the Sauce

The secret of how to poach pears is all in the sauce. Basically you need to create a sweet, red wine sauce that’s infused with the pungent aromas of various spices. The spices you use can vary depending on your individual taste but the recipe below will give you a great place to start.

Poaching Pears Recipe


  • 500 ml red wine – something with a bit of an edge, like a Shiraz, makes a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the fruit.
  • ½ a cup of sugar.
  • 1 orange.
  • 1 vanilla bean.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 4 cloves.
  • 4 ripe pears.


  1. Place the wine in a steel or enamel saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. As the wine warms add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Split the vanilla bean lengthways and add to the wine mixture along with the cinnamon stick and the cloves.
  4. Use a potato peeler to peel several strips from the skin of the orange. Crush these a little between the palms of your hands and add to the mixture.
  5. Squeeze the juice of the orange into the saucepan.
  6. Peel the pears and place them in the saucepan.
  7. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes test the pears by pushing a sharp knife into them – the pears should be well cooked but should not be mushy and certainly should not be cooked so much that they lose their shape.

When cooked, remove the pears from the sauce, stand them upright on a plate and place in the fridge to cool.

Increase the heat beneath the wine mixture and reduce it until it forms a thick, syrupy sauce. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

Serving Poached Pears

To serve your poached pears, place a single pear on a small plate and drizzle with the reduced sauce.

Poached pears may be accompanied with whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate sauce, custard or mascarpone.

For an alternative way to make poached pears check out this video.

How to Poach Pears, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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