Poached Pears in Red Wine

Poached pears in red wine in a white bowl

The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
324 Calories
2g Fat
71g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 324
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 9g 34%
Total Sugars 50g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 79mg 395%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 515mg 11%
*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 wine (or Poire à la Beaujolais) is a classic French dessert that originated in the wine-growing territories of Burgundy and Lyon. The French used it as a way to consume fruits that were not ripening to their liking on the tree; this way the fruit would not go to waste. By combining peeled pears with wine and a bouquet of spices, the people of the region were able to maximize their harvest while creating a dish that highlights the fruit's natural sweetness.

Poaching, which at its essence simply involves simmering food in a liquid until it's cooked, also happens to be an excellent way to use unripe fruit. This poached pears recipe offers a warming dessert option for a cold winter night or an elegant brunch dish for a family get-together.

Select a fruit-forward red wine for this dish such as zinfandel, shiraz, or merlot, and serve it next to a dollop of vanilla ice cream or top with homemade whipped cream. The translucent, red-tinted pears make for an elegant dessert that will impress your guests and won't overpower the dinner spread.  

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon (juiced and zested)

  • 4 to 6 pears (Bosc or Anjou)

  • 1 1/2 cups red wine (Zinfandel, Shiraz, or Merlot work best)

  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • For serving: Vanilla ice cream, mascarpone cheese, or crème​ fraiche

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for poached pears in red wine

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  2. Fill a bowl with cold water and add all but 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice.

    Bowl with water and lemon juice

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  3. Peel, halve, and core each pear.

    Peeled, halved, and cored pears

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  4. Place them in the bowl of lemon water to rest; the lemon juice will help prevent browning.

    Pears in lemon water

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  5. Combine the red wine, sugar, the reserved 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan large enough to hold the pears.

    Red wine, sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, the lemon zest, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  6. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to reach a low simmer. Add the pears and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes on one side.

    Pears boiling in poaching liquid in the pot

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  7. Rotate the pears and continue to poach them for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are tender and are easily poked through with a fork.

    Pears poaching in the poaching liquid

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  8. Remove the pears from the pan and cool them on a cooling rack or old, clean towel.

    Pears cooling on a metal draining rack

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  9. Bring the wine sauce back up to a rolling simmer and cook until the liquid has been reduced by half.

    Poaching liquid cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  10. To serve, place one pear into a shallow bowl. Pour a stream of sauce over the fruit.

    Poached pear on a plate

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  11. Place one scoop of ice cream, mascarpone cheese, or crème fraiche next to the pear (if using). Serve and enjoy.

    Poached Pears in red wine on a plate with ice cream

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Recipe Variations

For a twist on this elegant French dessert, try a classic poached pears in white wine recipe or chocolate-dipped Poires Belle Helene—a dish created in the 19th century by French chef Auguste Escoffier and named after an opera.

How to Store Poached Pears

Poached pears can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them gently in a saucepan over medium-low heat and the poaching liquid. Add a little bit of water if needed. Poached pears don't take to the freezer too kindly because they can become too watery when defrosted.

Do You Serve Poached Pears Hot or Cold?

You can serve poached pears hot, warm, or cold. They are good any of those ways, but if you're serving them with ice cream, serving them warm or hot is especially good.

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