Red wine poached pears are a stunning—and stunningly simple—dessert made from booze and fruit and sugar and not a lot else.
Red wine poached pears is a classic example of how the simplest of ingredients can constitute a seemingly sophisticated dessert with minimal effort. Here pears are gently coaxed to tenderness by gently simmering them in red wine, blackberries, and vanilla. It’s unlikely anyone will believe you achieved something so stunning with just five ingredients. And that’s okay—it can be our little secret. Originally published April 13, 2017.–Angie Zoobkoff
Red Wine Poached Pears
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 6
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
- 1 750-ml bottle good, fruity red wine, such as Beaujolais Nouveau or Merlot or, if you prefer something bigger, a Syrah or Shiraz
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar (120 g)
- About 1 pint fresh or frozen blackberries or black mulberries (about 12 ounces or 400 g)
- 6 firm pears, preferably Bosc or d’Anjou, peeled (about 2 pounds or 900 g)
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional)
- 1. In a large saucepan, combine the vanilla bean and seeds with the wine, sugar, and blackberries or mulberries.
- 2. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that they’ll sit upright on the plate after being poached. Carefully nestle the pears in the pan on their sides, cover with the lid, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer the pears, turning every now and then to ensure all sides get submerged in wine for part of the cooking, until the pears are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. The pears are done when you insert the tip of a knife into the pear and it feels tender but not to the point of collapse.
- 3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears from the pan with a slotted spoon and stand each pear on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Return the pan to medium heat and simmer, uncovered, until syrupy and reduced by half. The timing will vary depending on the size of your pan but could take as long as 20 to 30 minutes.
- 4. Strain the sauce, pressing to release all the juice from the berries. (If you prefer a more rustic presentation, you can leave some of the berries whole and strain the rest of the sauce.) Spoon the sauce over the pears and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if using.