Poached pears in spiced red wine

Poached pears in spiced red wine

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(15 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 6
A completely fat-free pud that isn't boring. It's not just Good Food, it's genius

Nutrition and extra info

  • Easily doubled / halved
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal235
  • fat0g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs51g
  • sugars51g
  • fibre2g
  • protein0g
  • salt0.3g
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  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, halved
  • fresh thyme sprig, plus sprigs to seve


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 6 pear, peeled, but kept whole with stalk intact



    Like apples, to which they are related, pears come in thousands of varieties, of which only a…


  1. Halve the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the black seeds and put in a large saucepan with the wine, sugar, cinnamon and thyme. Cut each piece of pod into three long thin strips, add to pan, then lower in the pears.

  2. Poach the pears, covered, for 20-30 mins, making sure they are covered in the wine. The cooking time will very much depend on the ripeness of your pears – they should be tender all the way through when pierced with a cocktail stick. You can make these up to 2 days ahead and chill.

  3. Take the pears from the pan, then boil the liquid to reduce it by half so that it’s syrupy. Serve each pear with the cooled syrup, a strip of vanilla, a piece of cinnamon and a small thyme sprig.

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Comments (31)

ellesbellsbaking12's picture

I served this with vanilla panna cotta. It went down a treat with the pears and the syrup is great. I've kept the sauce, as I left the reducing part, so I could use my remaining pears up during the week.

Claudia Rose's picture

I actually have these with a semicured spanish cheese as suggested by this recipe http://spainisdelicious.com/en/delirium-pears/ and I think adding thyme from this recipe is a great idea. It can be eaten as a dessert or as a cheeky snack when you have guests over and want to wow them with something simple yet effective!

lizleicester's picture

I made this as simply as possible due to an acute lack of time and rather under-ripe pears. I put all the ingredients into the pressure cooker and razzed it for 20 minutes. Ate them hot and delicious!

Sue'sdelights's picture

I have made this many times, but I add a tablespoon of home made blackberry jam to the reducing stage -delicious

evansawf57's picture

Pauline shouldn't worry about the pears floating and staying white. Osmosis will ensure that they exchange liquid with the wine sauce and darken over a few hours.

For a spicier version of this dessert, use the zest of an orange, a couple of cloves and juniper berries, a twist of nutmeg and four or five black peppercorns. Grown-ups only, though: most children don't enjoy the extra kick.

alcairob's picture

I made this recipe over Christmas and everyone loved it. I used a bottle of M & S mulled wine because that was what we had in the house and I speeded up the cooking time using the microwave and it still turned out great.

paulinedennis's picture

This really is an impressive dessert served warm with creme' fraiche' however, can someone please tel me how to stop the friut floating in the wine,. I have them wedged in but they still float. This leaves a white part of the pear that is no imersed.

ievasaule's picture

This was exquisite! Amazingly easy yet so tasty. We decided that the syrup could be also used for a duck dish. Will be a regular dish on the menu!

theglamps's picture

Served this on a slate platter as a starter, accompanied with a small bed of rocket salad, good dollop of Gorgonzola, a selection of Italian meats and some olive bread sticks. Went down amazingly well :)

fairystoryteller's picture

Really easy dessert but very yummy. Nice to offer mascarpone for those who are not worried about the extra calories. I have made it quite a few times now and it's a lovely end to a meal.

nicola41's picture

This is a great favourite of ours but I now use mulled red wine it has all the ingredients except the vanilla pod and thyme which you can put in or not I have done it both ways and both are fabulous all our friends love it I have given so many people the recipe it will soon be like the 60s with blackforest gateaux as a dinner party favourite enjoy.

joyfarmer's picture

Its the first time i've made this and it was delicious, so easy to make but the only problem i had was i don't think that i poached the pears for long enough because i wasnt sure if the wine was surposed to go all the way through the pears. (I did poach the pears for about 40 minutes though).

annepgillbard's picture

I have now made this a few times its very simple to make and absolutely delicious - I agree with previous comments that the quality of the red wine doesn't make much difference but I think the Vanilla Pod is essential as opposed to using essence. I agree with previous comments that a good quality Vanilla ice cream is the best accompaniment.

isapple's picture

Should this be served hot or cold?

katestay's picture

This recipe is amazing. I tried it and had lots of compliments. I used vanilla essense instead of a pod. And added cinnamon sticks and star anaise. This is easy to do and can be prepared before the occasion. LOVELY!

luffindell's picture

An absolute winner! I cut the pears in half, the two tone colouring looked amazing, served with marscapone.

nyreebell's picture

Very nice, will make again. I served it with Creme fraiche. Delicious

walneylass's picture

Made this for a dinner party. I now crave the dessert the sauce is such a delight and have made it number of times, . Will be making again soon.

jabjab1's picture

I made this today for my family, it was a great success, they have asked me to make it again.
It was so easy to do, we all loved it.
I am going to do this for a dinner party quite soon.

sue_tombs's picture

I loved the idea of this recipe but adapted it to my larder contents. I used sweet fruity rose wine, golden caster sugar and a tsp of ground cinnamon and a tsp of good vanilla extract. I served it with homemade vanilla ice cream and it was light, fruity and absolutely delicious :oD


Questions (1)

suet13's picture

Can you freeze this? I am running out of ideas as to what to do with all my pears!

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