Posted by: njbrown | October 19, 2009

Best (yet) recipe for red wine-poached pears

October 19, 2009

Poached Pear

This weekend, friends asked us for dinner, and I volunteered to bring dessert.  I gave them the choice of chocolate-orange cheesecake (one of my favorite recipes from my cooking days) or red wine-poached pears.  Being health-conscious, they chose the pears.  Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been researching recipes to try to find the best techniques for poaching, and the best combination of ingredients.  The following is not the recipe I used, but what I am confident will be the best recipe – so far.  (The recipe I used called for using water as well as wine, and the flavor was not as intense as the Thanksgiving recipe that used wine only. )   I tried mascarpone for the first time, and everyone gave it rave reviews.  We must be peasants, because although mascarpone is widely used on the Food Network, none of us had ever had it.  I heartily recommend it.  It is light, silky and absolutely lovely with the pears. If you want to stuff the pairs see Fruit and Nut-stuffed Poached Pears.

For poaching:

Red Wine-poached Pears


  • 1 bottle Merlot
  • 4 to 6 Bosc pears – pears need to be firm, but not too firm
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • ¾˝ peeled piece of ginger – sliced
  • One orange – zested and juiced
  • Juice of one lemon


  1. Put Merlot in  saucepan  just large enough to hold pears.
  2. Zest orange and add zest and orange juice to Merlot along with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
  3. Cut slices off bottom of pears (if necessary) so they will stand straight on the plate.
  4. Core pears using apple corer and/or melon-baller (parisienne scoop).
  5. Peel pears – leaving stems intact – and add each one as peeled to poaching liquid  to prevent discoloration.
  6. Once all pears are in liquid, bring to just below simmer stirring gently to help melt the sugar.
  7. Cover pears with circle of parchment paper ½˝ larger than pan, and weight with small plate to keep pears submerged.
  8. Poach for approximately 20 minutes – time will vary with size and ripeness of pears.
  9. When done, it should be possible to pierce the bottom easily with a sharp knife.  Once done, let pears cool ten minutes in liquid.
  10. Remove pears to a glass or ceramic bowl.
  11. Strain poaching liquid and cover pears with the liquid.
  12. Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap at least overnight, and up to 3 days.
  13. Before serving, return poaching liquid to pan and boil to reduce until it is syrupy – approximately 30 minutes.  After reduction, you should have about 1 c. of syrup.


  • 1 ½ c. mascarpone
  • 3 Tb. sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

Beat ingredients together until fluffy.  If you like a more intense vanilla taste, increase the amount of vanilla.


I think these are best served at room temperature, so the pears have to be removed from the refrigerator approximately 2 hours before eating.

Put a dollop of the mascarpone mixture on each plate.  Place a pear on the mascarpone.  Pour a bit of syrup over each pear, and garnish with a sprig of mint.  The beautiful deep garnet pears on the creamy mascarpone covered and surrounded with the garnet syrup are beautiful visually.  Our hostess had used a deep red and gold tablecloth, and the effect was lovely.

Bon appetit!




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