Introduction: Pears Poached in Red Wine

Picture of  Pears Poached in Red Wine

Ripe pears poached in a red wine and brown sugar syrup, flavored with cinnamon, vanilla bean and star anise, served with a delicate orange blossom mascarpone cream. This dessert is so easy to make, delicious and packed with bold flavors; this simple yet elegant dessert is the perfect way to end any dinner.

The recipe:

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Picture of Prepare the Ingredients

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

for the poached pears:

  • 4 large pears, or 5 medium pears (I used William pears)
  • 1 cup caster brown Demerara sugar – 200g
  • 2 cups semi dry red wine – 480ml
  • 2 cups water – 480 ml
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean

for the mascarpone cream:

  • 115g mascarpone cheese (8 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ¼ tsp orange blossom water


  • a medium saucepan
  • a bowl
  • a cutting board
  • a sharp knife
  • a vegetable peeler or a vegetable knife
  • a homemade parchment paper lid (a parchment paper square and scissors)


  • tsp = teaspoon
  • Tbsp = tablespoon

Step 2: Prepare the Poaching Liquid and the Pears

Picture of Prepare the Poaching Liquid and the Pears

Whenever I’m making poached pears, I’m using the following rule: for every pear I use 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of wine and 1/2 cup of water.

Prepare the poaching liquid

In a medium saucepan combine the wine with water and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a knife or a spoon.

Add to the saucepan the vanilla seeds and the seeded vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and star anise.

Let the poaching liquid simmer for 5 minutes to infuse.

Prepare the pears

Cut about 1 cm off from the bottom of the pears (to give them stability while plated).

Peel the pears carefully using a vegetable peeler and leave the stem intact.

Note: You can also scoop out the seeds using a small melon baller (exactly like I did in this recipe), but I personally skip this part almost every time.

Step 3: Prepare the Paper Lid and Poach the Pears

Picture of Prepare the Paper Lid and Poach the Pears

The parchment paper lid (also known as "cartouche") is used to control the rate of evaporation. The parchment paper lid is basically a parchment paper circle with a small orifice in the middle. The lid should be slightly larger than the saucepan’s circumference.

After the poaching liquid has been simmering for about 5 minutes, reduce the heat to minimum, place the pears in the saucepan and cover them with the parchment paper lid.

Gently poach the pears for 20 – 30 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a knife (the time depends on the ripeness of the pears). Use a spoon to turn the pears over every 5 minutes. When they are tender, remove them from the heat and let them cool down in the poaching liquid for at least 30 minutes (you can make these steps ahead and you can keep the poached pears refrigerated in the poaching liquid up to 2 days).

Step 4: Remove the Pears From the Poaching Liquid and Reduce the Sauce

Picture of Remove the Pears From the Poaching Liquid and Reduce the Sauce

After at least 30 minutes, place the pears on a platter and leave them aside.

Place the saucepan with the poaching liquid on the stove and simmer over medium-high heat for 30 – 40 minutes, or until reduced by half to a slightly sticky glaze (the glaze will be thicker when cooled).

Step 5: Prepare the Mascarpone Cream

Picture of Prepare the Mascarpone Cream

Meanwhile prepare the mascarpone cream by combining the mascarpone cheese with honey and orange blossom water. Stir the ingredients with a spoon until smooth and creamy.

Step 6: The Presentation

Picture of The Presentation

Place the pears on dessert plates and top them with 2-3 Tbsp of wine reduction. Spoon 2 Tbsp of mascarpone cream, sprinkle some cocoa powder and garnish with fresh blueberries.

Note: Don't throw away the remaining brown sugar and red wine reduction. Store it in an airtight container, refrigerate it and use it as a delicious syrup for other desserts, from vanilla ice cream and puddings, to choux a la crème and brownies.


sapphire cord (author)2017-01-31

HI! Awesome recipe only I am a little confused -- your ingredient list does not match your general rule for ingredients per poached pear. Could you please clarify?

Thank you so much for the
comment, sapphire cord! I really appreciate! I’ve just corrected the

To conclude, for every large
pear you need ¼ cups of sugar (50g), ½ cup of wine (120ml) and ½ cup of water
(120ml). For seasoning the poaching liquid you can also use orange zest, cloves
or even chili. Let me know if you decide to try the recipe! :)

hi! Just wanted to let you know that I made it last week and they were so wonderful that my family wants them again! Will be making them in a few days!! Thank you ?

Hello Sapphire Cord! I'm so, so glad you enjoyed the recipe! And thank you so much for your feedback! :)

Thank! I plan on picking up some pears this week!! Will let you know how they turn out. Thanks again!

enstain made it! (author)2017-02-04

Well, may not look as nice as in the picture, but still super delicious!

Just a few notes: have no idea what that paper thing is, didn't see it anywhere in the shops, so just half covered the pot. Seems to have been just fine. Also strangely reducing the volume of the poaching liquid by more that half did not change it's consistency. But all in all - very easy and super delicious desert! Thank you author :)

VespressoCooking (author)enstain2017-02-04

Hello, Enstain!
Thank you so much for your comment! I’m so glad you liked the recipe! Let me tell you that your dessert looks so

Reading again the
recipe, I realize I should have been more clear regarding the cartouche (the
paper lid). The cartouche is homemade, to make it you only need a parchment
paper square and some scissors. The parchment paper lid controls the rate of evaporation, and
this might explain why your poaching liquid didn’t have in the end the
consistency of a syrup, even though you reduced it by half.

I hope I’ve been helpful and thank you again for your feedback! :)

LuisR238 (author)2017-01-31

Thank you.

Suggestion: OPorto Wine instead of Red Wine.

Thank you very much for the suggestion, Luis! I'm sure the result would be delicious! :)

Igioteno (author)2017-01-29

What a unique dessert :) looks delicous

Thank you so much! And it's very easy to make too! :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Medical school graduate, homechef and food blogger. I use local, seasonal ingredients to create tasty and nutritious dishes.
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