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Poached Pears in Spiced Prune Juice Recipe

Poached Pears in Red Wine

The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Nutrition Facts (per serving)


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 13mg1%
Total Carbohydrate 71g26%
Dietary Fiber 9g34%
Total Sugars 50g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 79mg395%
Calcium 69mg5%
Iron 1mg8%
Potassium 515mg11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Poached pears in wine (or Poire à la Beaujolais) is a classic French dessert that originated in the wine-growing territories of Burgundy and Lyon. The French used it as a way to consume fruits that were not ripening to their liking on the tree; this way the fruit would not go to waste. By combining peeled pears with wine and a bouquet of spices, the people of the region were able to maximize their harvest while creating a dish that highlights the fruit’s natural sweetness.

Poaching, which at its essence simply involves simmering food in a liquid until it’s cooked, also happens to be an excellent way to use unripe fruit. This poached pears recipe offers a warming dessert option for a cold winter night or an elegant brunch dish for a family get-together.

Select a fruit-forward red wine for this dish such as zinfandel, shiraz, or merlot, and serve it next to a dollop of vanilla ice cream or top with homemade whipped cream. The translucent, red-tinted pears make for an elegant dessert that will impress your guests and won’t overpower the dinner spread.

Red Wine Poached Pears

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A simple yet decadent and elegant dessert – these Red Wine Poached Pears enhance the natural sweetness of the fruit with delicious red wine and beautiful spices.

Serve red wine poached pears with some mascarpone cheese, or whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an impressive dessert.

I remember eating my first poached pear when I was little, and wondering whether those gorgeous deep red pears were doused in the same candy as candy apples. I wasn’t too happy that they weren’t crunchy like candy apples, but the taste more than made up for it!

Red Wine Poached Pears are a classic French dessert and very underrated in my opinion. It’s such a simple dessert, yet delightfully flavorful and very elegant and impressive. They have a great balance of sweet, spice and fruity flavors, and the deep red color turns this into a beautiful centerpiece dessert too.

Plus, making red wine poached pears (or white wine poached pears) is really easy. Today, I’m going to show you how to make this easy dessert step by step, with additional suggestions to amp up the flavor.

How to poach pears in red wine with perfect results

Choosing the perfect pear to poach

I prefer Bosc pears. It’s a great choice because bosc pears retain their shape well while being cooked. Bosc pears are crisp and mildly sweet, making them the perfect canvas for all the flavors in the poaching liquid.

Another good option is Anjou pears. They too have a mild flavor that doesn’t interfere with the flavors of the poaching liquid, and more importantly, don’t become mushy while being poached.

Asian pears are also a great option. They are almost like a cross between a pear and an apple in terms of taste and texture. They are also crisp and sweet, and poaching these would again give you something resembling a poached apple and pear in terms of flavor.

Which pears to avoid

Avoid Bartlett pears at all costs. Bartlett pears are delicious to eat, but they bruise easily if handled too much, and warming them up will turn them to mush pretty quickly.

They are perfect to make pear sauce or pear butter, but they are a no-go for poaching.

Can I use overripe pears?

Ideally, you don’t want pears that are overripe, because they’d be too soft to withstand the hot poaching liquid. You CAN poach overripe pears for a shorter time, but that doesn’t give enough time for the pears to really absorb all the flavor. Plus, overripe pears can be harder to manoeuvre while you’re cooking them (since you will need to rotate the pears in the saucepan to evenly cook them).

How to choose a wine to make these red wine poached pears

That’s an important question obviously, with a simple answer. Cook with a wine that you like to drink. And not too expensive. That goes for both red and white wine.

Since the red wine will be simmered here with spices and sugar (or honey), the flavor of the wine will get concentrated and enhanced. A little sweetness is good for poaching pears, so sugar (or honey) is necessary.

I use a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot when I make these red wine poached pears.

How to choose the right spices and flavors for red wine poached pears


I’ve made these red wine poached pears with all kinds of spices. Seriously, there’s only very few that won’t work. Poached pears are quite versatile, and it’s mostly about choosing what you like. But don’t be afraid to try new spices and flavor profiles that you’re not familiar with either.

For red wine poached pears, I usually go with cinnamon, star anise, cloves, orange peel and vanilla. It’s a great combination of spices. Think mulled wine, but for poached pears.


Another way to enhance the flavor of these red wine poached pears is by changing the sweetener. I use white sugar for this recipe, but you can add brown sugar, or honey, or coconut sugar instead as well.


I always add some orange peel to the red wine when I make these poached pears, but depending on the wine, you can add more flavor with fresh fruits or fruit juice.

I like to add raspberry, or blackberry or cherries that complement the flavor of the red wine. The seeds can be an issue if you’re using raspberries or blackberries, so once the wine is simmered, you can pass it through a sieve to remove the seeds, BEFORE you add the pears.

In terms of juice, I like to add apple cider, orange juice and pomegranate juice.

More alcohol

Totally optional, but why the heck not? Yes, it’s red wine poached pears, but you can enhance the flavor with a little more alcohol. I love adding bourbon, whiskey, brandy or sherry. Cointreau and Port are good options too.

Choosing the right saucepan for poaching pears

The poaching liquid for this red wine poached pears recipe is good for a maximum of 5 pears. But you can just as easily poach 3 – 5 pears in this red wine mix. It’s important to use the right saucepan for the job though. You want the pears to fit snugly in the saucepan, with just a little wiggle room for the pears to be partially submerged even at an angle, or upright.

I always poach the pears while they are sitting upright first, and then have them submerged at an angle in the red wine mix so that the tops of the pears get cooked. Usually I have the pears angled towards the middle, and then rotate them every few minutes to make sure the whole pear is poached well and flavored with the wine and spices, and colored evenly. Since it’s red wine, it’s easy to tell which parts of the pears have been poached or not. And since the bottom of the pear is plumper, I poach the pears while keeping them upright for a little longer.

These red wine poached pears can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge. I prefer to keep the pears in the poaching liquid overnight, because the liquid will continue to flavor the pears even more as the pears cool down. Then this gorgeous poaching liquid can be simmered even more to make a syrup which you can pour over the pears when serving.

Red wine poached pears are such an elegant and delicious dessert that everyone would love! Flavored with wine and spice flavors, and served with more of that delicious wine syrup and a generous serving of mascarpone cheese on the side, this dessert is a great finish to any meal.

And since the liquid is being cooked for a while, the alcohol in the red wine will be mostly cooked out too, so kids can enjoy it as well. I certainly loved eating red wine poached pears when I was a kid, and never got drunk, but that’s a decision I will leave to your discretion.

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Poached Pears

Poached pears are one of the easiest and sexiest desserts there are. They sit on the plate like a jewel, filled with the essence of wine and in this case pomegranate. The house becomes scented with spices and vanilla. Once these regal beauties are tender and succulent they can be paired with pastry cream, ice cream, sorbet or even blue cheese. A sprinkle of crushed praline and you have a classic dish that takes very little effort.

I started with bosc pears, for no other reason than their gorgeous shape. The flavor is great but that is secondary (just kidding!). Choose whichever pear you find most appealing. Once you decide on a variety, pick the ones that are firm. You don’t want a fully ripened pear or it will fall apart while you are poaching. The trick is to leave the pear in the slowly simmering liquid for as long as possible. The longer it poaches the more the pear takes on the flavor and the color of your syrup.

I wanted the rich jewel tone of red wine and pomegranate juice. The wine gives the fruit a deep flavor and the pomegranate is bright and fresh tasting, a really nice combination when you throw in a vanilla bean, a star anise, peppercorns and other spices. All of this can also be done in white wine and pear juice or champagne to give the pears a honey colored finish!

Red Wine and Pomegranate Poached Pears

1 bottle fruity red wine (I used a Shiraz but anything you have around the house will do, Don’t break the bank on the wine, since you are going to be adding juice and spices to it anyway. Having said that, make sure you want to drink the rest if there is any left in the bottle.)

1 bottle 32oz pomegranate juice. Find as close to pure juice as you can! I found some at Trader Joe’s or POM is great.

1/2 vanilla bean split and scraped (throw the whole bean in the pot to release all the seeds.)

6 whole peppercorns

6-8 whole peeled and cored under-ripe pears

Place all of the ingredients in a large pot and simmer on medium low heat, uncovered. I made the mistake of covering poached pears and they boiled away and became mushy. The trick is to go slowly. Depending on how hard your pears are this can take 45 minutes-2hours.

Flip the pears around gently with a spoon to make sure they are cooking evenly every 20 minutes.

Once they are taking on color you should start to check them for tenderness. With a fork poke inside the pear, where you cored it. You don’t want to see the fork marks on the outside. Once they are tender and the fork slides ino the flesh of the pear easily they are done. You still want to have some bite to the pear so don’t make them mushy, like canned pears.

once the pears are finished then turn up the heat slightly and reduce the poaching liquid until it resembles think maple syrup. Serve the syrup with the pear or over ice cream. I even used it to go with the chocolate cake recipe I made for the Children’s Heartlink event!

You can fill the pears with sweetened mascarpone cheese, praline pastry cream or just leave them alone and serve with ice cream. I made these and served them with sorbet, the poaching syrup and some crushed praline. It was delicious and just happened to fit the vegan menu for my brother and his girlfriend!



Red Wine Poached Pears

Poached Pears

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