Classic Poached Pears

Classic Poached Pears

  • Prep:
  • Cook Time:
  • Total:
  • Serving: Makes 4 servings

This classic poached pears recipe makes an elegant and healthy dessert. Just make sure not to over-cook the pears. They shouldn't be mushy, but rather a bit al dente.


  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle of red or white wine
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar or another sweetener
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves
  • Zest and juice of an orange
  • 4 firm pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored
  • Orange liqueur


  1. Combine wine, sugar, vanilla and cloves in a medium pot over medium heat. Add orange zest and half of the juice. Bring mixture to a simmer then add pears. Cook pears 10 to 15 minutes in simmering liquid. Test pears by poking a knife in them – the pears should be tender but not mushy. Continue cooking, if necessary, until pears reach desired tenderness.
  2. Remove pears, vanilla bean and cloves with a slotted spoon and let cool. Continue cooking liquid until it has reduced and reached a thick consistency. At this point, you can add the orange liqueur, about 1 to 2 tablespoons if desired. When ready to serve, place pears on a plate and spoon liquid overtop. Top pears with a small dollop of whipped cream or low-fat ice cream.


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