Poached pears in spiced red wine

Poached pears in spiced red wine

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(21 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 pears, 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, questions and tips

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Brian Reay's picture
Brian Reay
4th Jan, 2020
Can be adapted for a slow cooker. I do this at Christmas. I set it going while preparing the main lunch and it is ready to serve when needed.
10th Sep, 2014
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
1st Apr, 2014
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!
8th Nov, 2013
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!
26th Aug, 2013
I have made this many times, but I add a tablespoon of home made blackberry jam to the reducing stage -delicious
29th Dec, 2012
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.
24th Dec, 2012
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.
28th Dec, 2016
I am using it for a post-Christmas lunch this evening.
25th Nov, 2012
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.
28th Dec, 2016
We are using plain yogurt because it's difficult to get creme fraiche in Italy.


smrcarew's picture
3rd May, 2017
Anyone who has made this, would this recipe taste good with a chocolate sauce?
21st Oct, 2013
Can you freeze this? I am running out of ideas as to what to do with all my pears!
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