White Wine Poached Pears

White Wine Poached Pears

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 pears
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
586 Calories
0g Fat
131g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 586
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 17mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 131g 47%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 118g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 8mg 42%
Calcium 38mg 3%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 296mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Poached pears in white wine sauce is a classic French dessert that's easy to make and delicious to eat. The mainstay in the recipe, which varies in the sauce ingredients and type of pears, is the use of good quality wine. If you can drink it by the glass, you can cook with it, and a nice wine will impart a better flavor to the fruit. For this recipe, opt for sweeter wines like a Chardonnay, Moscato, or Riesling. If choosing a dry white wine, the flavor will change from very sweet to dry but the fruit will retain its natural sweetness.

Pears are one of the best fruits to poach because the flesh stays firm and their shape is still recognizable after poaching. With so many pear varieties available, try different kinds of this sweet fruit to achieve diverse textures and flavors. While you can use nearly any pear variety, some are better choices for poaching: always go for sweet and firm pears like Bosc, Anjou, Concorde, or French butter pears and avoid softer pears like ripe Bartlett or Comice.

To serve your pears, choose a bit of crème patisserie or crème fraîche, as the cream perfectly accents the spiced wine syrup and sweetness of the pears. Mascarpone or vanilla ice cream are also great additions. If you'd like to try a fancier presentation, poires belle Helene is a beautiful and delicious choice.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium firm pears

  • 2 cups white wine

  • 3 1/2 cups water

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 vanilla bean, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 2 cups white granulated sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    White Wine Poached Pears ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Thinly peel the pears, making sure to keep the stem intact. Slightly slice the bottom of the pears so they will stand up in the pan and when serving. 

    peeled pears

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. In a large and tall saucepan, stir together the white wine, water, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.

    white wine, water, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Once the liquid is simmering, add the prepared pears and place them standing on the pan. The liquid should cover most of the pears' height.

    pears poaching in the white wine mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Poach the pears, uncovered, for 7 to 9 minutes until their meat is slightly tender, but they are still firm enough to hold their shape. Watch this process carefully as you do not want the pears to overcook or they will collapse.

    pears poaching in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Remove the pears from the poaching liquor with a slotted spoon and place them on individual serving plates.

    poached pears on plates

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Return the poaching liquid to a simmer. Add the sugar and allow the mixture to reduce in volume by half or about 6 to 8 minutes. The syrup is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

    pear poaching liquid in a pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean from the syrup and strain the liquid through a fine sieve. 

    strain the pear poaching liquid

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Drizzle each pear with the wine syrup and add any other topping that you'd like.

    White Wine Poached Pears on plates

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Other Tasty Ways to Eat Poached Pears

Although these pears are a great finale for a savory meal, there are other ways to enjoy this preparation:

  • Salads: Slice the poached pears and toss them with mixed greens and balsamic vinegar. Top with crushed walnuts or pistachios and dollops of goat's cheese.
  • Side: Serve slices of pears with turkey, pork, or game. The pears make a great contrast to the savory meats. Alternatively, you can process the pears with some of the poaching liquid and reduce the resulting sauce until it has a thicker and saucier texture. Serve this sauce with your roasts and chops.
  • Sandwiches and wraps: Use the pears as sandwich fillings and pair them with strong and bold cheeses like Blue, Brie, Camembert, Manchego, or Gouda. Alternate slices of cheese and pears and top the sandwich with arugula or sauteed baby kale.
  • Bread: Add cubes of poached pears to your favorite banana bread recipe.