Classic Poached Pears in White Wine

Poached pears
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  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 Portions (4 Servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
622 Calories
0g Fat
140g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 Portions (4 Servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 622
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 14mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 140g 51%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Protein 1g
Calcium 74mg 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 special dessert that's a mainstay on nearly every French restaurant menu. It's healthy, low fat, and easy to make at home so that everyone can enjoy it. Plus, it's absolutely delicious to eat.

Pears are one of the best fruits to poach as the flesh stays firm, so the pear keeps its shape. With so many pear varieties available, you can change it up for different flavors, textures, and sweetness every time you make it.

There are endless ways to serve poached pears. A classic option that makes a more lavish treat is with a bit of crème patisserie or almond glacé—the cream perfectly accents the spiced wine syrup and sweetness of the pears.

Ingredients

  • 4 pears (firm)
  • 2 cups wine (sweet white)
  • 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 sugar (white granulated)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Thinly peel the pears, making sure to keep the stem intact. If the pears are wobbly, trim them slightly to make a flat bottom so they will stand up in the pan and when serving. 

  3. In a large saucepan, stir together the sweet white wine, water, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat and add the prepared pears.

  5. Poach the pears, uncovered, for 7 to 9 minutes, until they turn tender. Watch this process carefully as you do not want the pears to be mushy or they will collapse: Remove them from the poaching liquor sooner rather than later. 

  6. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the pears to a serving plate.

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

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

  9. Arrange the pears on individual serving plates and drizzle with the wine syrup.

  10. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • While you can use nearly any pear variety, some are a better choice for poaching. Crisp pears that hold their shape under heat include Bosc, Anjou, Concorde, and French butter pears.
  • Avoid Bartlett pears if possible, as they get mushy very quickly.

Recipe Variations

  • Use a dry white wine rather than a sweet wine. This switch will radically change the flavor from syrupy sweet to a drier profile while retaining the pears' natural sweetness.
  • Try the pears dipped in chocolate, which are classicly called poires belle helene.