Spiced Poached Pears in red wine are a light, refreshing and satisfying dessert without all the calories!
This easy dessert is perfect in the Fall when pears are in season. Who says dessert must be fattening?
This easy poached pear recipe uses fresh pears infused in a poaching liquid of red wine, spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon) and vanilla.
Add some dried fruit and a scoop of Mascarpone, and you've got an elegant and delicious dessert!
What is Poaching?
Poaching is a method of cooking where food is cooked in liquid that is 140 - 180ºF .
This is different from simmering, where the liquid temperature is just under boiling temperature between 180 - 205ºF and boiling, where food is placed in liquid that is 212ºF.
The liquids used in the poaching process vary. Some recipes use red or white wine, while others use apple cider or apple juice.
White grape juice is another poaching liquid that works well for spiced poached pears.
How to make it:
A little prep work is necessary to poach pears, but after that, it's super easy!
Use a sharp paring knife and gently remove the skin; create a flat base for the pear to stand
Immediately sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the pears. The acidity of the lemon prevents the fruit from browning (through oxidation) and helps retain a bright color.
Heat the poaching liquid; place pears in liquid and simmer 15-25 minutes
Place pears in individual serving bowls; drizzle poaching liquid over pears and garnish with dried fruit and a scoop of mascarpone
Best pears for poaching
Ripe winter pears hold their shape best and the best varieties are Bosc, Anjou and Bartlett. Having said that, you can use any ripe pear. Unfortunately, canned pears tend to disintegrate faster than ripe pears.
Which pears are sweetest?
While all pears are naturally sweet, some are sweeter than others. The sweetest pear is Comice.
Bartlett, Starkrimson and Concord follow in a second group of being very sweet and juicy.
The next group includes the Anjou, Bosc and Seckel. This group is relatively sweet; the Bosc and Seckel are more crisp than juicy.
The Forelle pear is the least sweet and somewhat crispy.
Asian pears are rounder than the varieties mentioned above and are much more crispy and crunchy, like an apple. For this reason, salads often feature Asian pears,usually accompanied with bleu or Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts.
How to ripen pears
Select a pear that is semi-firm to the touch; it should give just a little when you lightly squeeze it.
If you purchase fruit that isn't quite ripe, simply place the pears in a paper sack for a day. This "brown-bag" method will ripen the fruit to the perfect consistency for poaching!
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Spice Poached Pears
- 2 Bosc pears
- juice of two large lemons
- water (add enough to cover the pears)
- ½ cup red wine See Recipe Notes
- ½ stick butter , unsalted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves , ground
- 1 teaspoon sugar , granulated
- ½ cup dried fruits (cranberry, cherry, blueberry)
- 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese (optional)
- Peel pears, cut into halves or quarters and place in a big bowl; squeeze lemon juice into bowl and coat pears (this keeps them from turning brown)2 Bosc pears, juice of two large lemons
- In a saucepan on medium heat, add butter, wine, cloves, water, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla; cook until sugar is dissolvedwater, ½ cup red wine
- Add pear sections and turn heat to low
- Simmer, covered 25-30 minutes, or until pears are tender
- Remove pears with slotted spoon and set aside
- Bring remaining wine/water mixture to rolling boil; add dried fruit and cook until fruit plumps up
- Place pears in shallow bowl; remove cinnamon sticks
- Drizzle poaching liquid over pears
- Garnish with a spoonful of mascarpone cheese and lemon zest½ stick butter