Pears Poached in Red Wine is a sophisticated dessert that’s easy to make with budget-friendly ingredients. Served with ice cream and chopped nuts, it’s the perfect treat to enjoy after the holiday dinner.Jump to Recipe
Poached pears in red wine recipe
Fill your home with the warming flavors of fruit, citrus, and vanilla with this Pears Poached in Red Wine recipe. It’s an elegant dessert made by simmering peeled pears in a lightly sweetened and citrus-vanilla-flavored red wine poaching liquid. In the end, you’ll have crimson-red pears with a delicate texture and rich, fruit-forward flavors.
Just like my Shortbread Cookies and Blood Orange Panna Cotta, this red wine poached pears recipe is a perfect dessert for the holidays. You don’t need any complicated ingredients and it comes together very easily. Despite how easy it is, pears in red wine always leave your guests impressed!
What kind of red wine should you use?
You don’t need an expensive bottle of wine to make this recipe! Use any red wine you already love sipping on. I chose an inexpensive Merlot, but a fruit-forward Zinfandel or Shiraz are also great options.
Are you a white wine drinker? Use it instead! The same rules apply for white wine poached pears: use a wine you already love to drink and don’t break the bank.
Bonus: You can reuse the poaching liquid! Just keep it in an airtight container in the fridge once it’s cool. Whenever you’re craving poached pears for dessert, reheat the liquid on the stove and continue the recipe as normal.
Choosing and preparing the pears
I prefer using Bosc or Anjou pears. Both taste mild and sweet, can withstand high heat, and don’t turn to mush as they’re poached. Avoid any overly soft pears that bruise easily.
When you’re shopping, look for pears that are perfectly ripe. They should be free of blemishes and feel slightly firm when squeezed.
Peeling the pears and preparing them for poaching is straightforward. Use these tips to help them turn out as beautiful as possible:
- To peel the pears, work in long, even strokes with a sharp vegetable peeler. Be careful not to bruise them when peeling.
- Leaving the stem intact is optional, but it gives the poached pears a refined presentation.
- Cut each peeled pear in half or quarters. Scoop out the core with a melon baller.
How to poach pears in red wine
Pour the wine, sugar, orange peel, orange juice, and vanilla into a saucepan. Bring it up to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
Prepare the pears and cut the parchment paper circle as the liquid is simmering.
Place the pears in the pot with the liquid and cover it with the parchment. Gently turn the pears every 5 minutes to ensure an even color.
You’ll know they’re done when the pears have an even crimson color but still slightly feel firm to the touch. Let them cool for a few minutes, then serve with scoops of ice cream and nuts on top. Enjoy!
Tips for perfectly poached pears
- The parchment paper lid will trap the heat and help the pears poach evenly. To make the lid, cut a piece of parchment paper into a circle, and cut an x in the center to help the steam escape.
- Turn the pears with a slotted spoon every 5 minutes to help them poach evenly.
- To check for doneness, pierce the pears with a knife after 15 or 20 minutes. The knife should easily slide in and out.
- If you don’t want to use white sugar, use brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup instead.
- To make a red wine glaze, continue simmering the liquid after removing the poached pears. It will thicken and turn into a rich, runny syrup, which you can drizzle over the pears for serving. Yum!
Customize the flavor
Orange and vanilla were my flavors of choice but there are many more to choose from. You can customize the poaching liquid using, essentially, anything you would use in a mulled wine recipe, like:
- Whole cloves
- Star anise
- Cinnamon sticks
- Cardamom pods
- Whole nutmeg
- Apple cider
- Pomegranate juice
- Bourbon or whiskey
Frequently asked questions
Although the poaching liquid does simmer for some time, I would avoid serving the red wine poached pears to kids. According to Idaho State University, you would have to simmer the wine for about 3 hours to cook out all of the alcohol. The kids may like these Grilled Peaches and Ice Cream instead!
Yes, you can poach the pears in cranberry juice, apple juice, or grape juice to keep the recipe alcohol-free.
For a joyous dessert, serve the poached pears on a plate with scoops of vanilla ice cream and chopped nuts or shaved chocolate sprinkled on top. You can also serve them with whipped cream, mascarpone, and/or fresh orange slices if ice cream isn’t your thing.
Yes! To make poached pears ahead, leave the peeled and halved pears to soak in the poaching liquid for a few hours or overnight. The deep red color will penetrate all the way through to the center.
This process does cause the pears to soften more, so I recommend reducing the cooking time by a few minutes to ensure the pears won’t fall apart.
Looking for more fancy desserts?
- Raspberry Lemon Basque Cheesecake
- Apple Fritters with Vanilla Glaze
- Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
- Easy Cheese Danishes
If you try these Pears Poached in Red Wine, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Pears Poached in Red Wine
- 4 firm but ripe pears with the stem intact, peeled, cored and cut in half longwise
- 1.5 L bottle merlot or your favorite red wine
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large orange, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
- 6 long strips orange peel (1 by 4-inch)
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, cut in half
- 4-8 scoops Private Selection™ Double Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 cup, divided in 1/4 Private Selection™ Madagascar Vanilla & Honey Almonds, chopped
- Combine wine, sugar, orange peel, orange juice and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
- While poaching liquid is simmering, peel pears, leaving the stem intact and being careful not to bruise the pears, cut in half and core, I use a melon baller).
- Cut a piece of parchment paper into a circle that fits in the pot, make an X for steam to escape. This will act as a lid. Cover the pears with the parchment paper.
- Simmer the pears for about 15-20 minutes. Gently turning every 5 minutes with a slotted spoon to ensure even color. Pears should be cooked but still firm. Cool at room temperature, turning occasionally to ensure even color.
- To assemble, add two halves of pears with a scoop or two of Double Vanilla ice cream and chopped Madagascar Vanilla & Honey Almonds. Serve and enjoy!