These wine poached pears are an easy, elegant dessert made by gently cooking peeled pears in white wine and then drizzling them with a creamy butterscotch sauce.
What pears are best for poaching?
Any pear would work just fine, although truth be told, there’s one pear that’s head—and a lovely elongated neck—above the rest. And that’s the Bosc pear. As the authors note, “The earthy, light brown, cinnamon-colored Bosc pear, known for its long tapered neck, holds its shape when baked, so the finished dish will be beautiful.” Select one that’s perfectly ripe, which you can tell by cupping the pear in your hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. You want it to yield slightly but not completely.
You can, of course, substitute Anjou or Bartlett pears for slightly frumpier though no less tasty results.
Wine Poached Pears with Butterscotch Sauce
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 4 H, 25 M
- Serves 6
Special Equipment: 5-quart or larger slow cooker
- For the wine poached pears
- For the butterscotch sauce (optional)
Slick a large (5-quart or larger) slow cooker with vegetable oil.
Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact. Stand the pears upright in the slow cooker. Brush the pears with the lemon juice. Sprinkle the pears with the sugar. Pour in the wine, vanilla, and water.
Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until the pears are tender but not mushy when pricked with a fork or pierced with a paring knife, 3 to 4 hours.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute, or until bubbling. Stir in the cream and cook, still stirring continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbling again.
Stir in the vanilla, remove from the heat, and let it rest, without stirring, until the sauce thickens, 5 to 10 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to lift each pear out of the poaching liquid and place it onto a serving plate. Drizzle the pears with the butterscotch sauce, if desired. Serve warm. Originally published November 4, 2015.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This recipe is a keeper. It's such a sexy dessert. It looks so simple and elegant at the same time. I didn't have a Crock Pot on hand so I used a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid in the oven at 300°F. My pears were fork tender after 4 hours. The pears had a nice color and held their shape.
The butterscotch sauce was such a nice complement. It was so silky smooth and paired well with the texture of the pears. Not to mention that it was so easy to make! It's a sauce that can also be used with other desserts—even over vanilla ice cream. This dish is a good way to impress friends and family as the finished product looks like it took a lot of work...but that's our little secret!
I love, love, love a recipe like this one that’s simple yet incredibly impressive. Poaching fruit is a wonderful way to infuse the best fruit of the season with a touch of extra flavor. Whether the infusion calls for wine, tea, herbs, spices, or extracts, it’s a classy way to serve a healthy dessert. I adored this wine poached pears recipe for coming together in a slow cooker and including a decadent butterscotch sauce.
The pears alone, without the sauce, were decadent, tender, and perfectly infused with the wine and vanilla extract. The vanilla perfumed the pears nicely, and I'd be tempted to add either a touch of almond or hazelnut extract to the poaching liquid next time to change the base recipe up a bit. Then maybe serve the pears with crushed nuts? Whipped cream?
In terms of the recipe itself, on low heat, my pears only took 3 hours until they were very tender. So I would check them after about 3 hours just in case they're done. I loved this recipe and plan to hold on to it for our next fall dinner party!