These pear parcels with star anise are made by roasting whole pears in parchment paper along with star anise, cloves, cardamom, and a honey and port wine sauce. A remarkably easy and elegant autumn dessert.
These pear parcels with star anise are a lovely little gift for guests to unwrap at the table. Just about any variety of pear will do for this aromatic little recipe. What kind works best, though, depends on your preference. And your priorities. Big, buxom pears like Comice with wide bottoms sit well and won’t turn topsy-turvy. Although we’re partial to the voluptuous, curvaceous, breathtakingly slender silhouette of Bosc pears on a dessert plate. Because a Bosc’s behind is rather beautifully Rubenesque, you’ll need to trim the bottom from the pear for it to sit up straight.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Pear Parcels with Star Anise
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 6
Special Equipment: Kitchen string
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
- 6 ripe but still slightly firm pears, peeled, stems left intact
- 12 whole star anise
- 12 whole cardamom pods, slightly crushed
- 12 whole cloves
- 12 tablespoons port, whether tawny or ruby
- 6 tablespoons honey
- Ice cream, whipped or heavy cream, or mascarpone (optional but highly, highly recommended)
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Cut six 12-inch squares of parchment paper and trim the corners to create circles. Place each parchment circle in a small bowl.
- 2. Place a pear in the middle of each parchment circle. (It may be necessary—and prudent—to cut a slice off the bottom of each pear so that it stands upright without tilting or wobbling.) Toss 2 star anise and 2 cardamom pods into each pear parcel. Press 2 cloves into each pear. Spoon 2 tablespoons port and 1 tablespoon honey over each pear.
- 3. Gather the edges of the parchment around the top of the stem of each pear and tie the bunch with kitchen string. Transfer the parcels, without the bowls, to a roasting pan.
- 4. Bake the pear parcels until tender, 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the variety. (To test for doneness, insert the tip of a sharp paring knife through the paper and into a pear—preferably the pear you’ll serve yourself. If you need to go longer than an hour, that’s fine.)
- 5. Serve each parcel, still in the paper for each person to unwrap, in a small dish with a knife and fork or spoon. If desired, serve with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of heavy cream, or a generous spoonful of mascarpone. Originally published November 9, 2012.
Recipe Testers Reviews
I was awesomely and amazingly impressed by this pear parcels recipe! This is super simple, divinely delicious and going to be my go-to fall dessert! I thought the little parcels were cute and picturesque! My husband came home last week with a mess of pears so I had to make this recipe. I used Bartlett pears that were very ripe and straight out of the refrigerator. Peeling these pears was not the easiest as the the pears were so soft so do try not to make this recipe with overly ripe pears.
The rest of the prep literally took minutes. Mine took 45 minutes to be perfectly cooked, with the knife test confirming for me, and the house smelled so good. They were fun to tear into! I was pleasantly surprised because port and spices are not my usual flavor favorites. But the pears were just hinted with the beautiful tastes. And the pears were soft and delicate, warm and lightly spiced.
I served them with canned whipped cream because that’s what I had but I will try the mascarpone next time. What I like, too, about this recipe is that it’s completely customizable based on how many servings are needed. I served 1 pear per person and since there were only 2 of us, I only made 2 pears. Cleanup was super simple, too!
I’ve tried to produce a poached pear in wine that I loved trying all sorts of methods (marsala, zinfandel, white wines), but this recipe gets to the perfect level of spice and sweet without clobbering me. Spot on perfect! The flavors are wonderful.
It takes only a few minutes to prep and stage the pears while your oven is heating and in a little over an hour, you can have a guest-special dessert ready while you have dinner. The rustic and individual DIY parcels are a fun way to serve, and you can pass crème fraîche or softly whipped cream separately.
It worked nicely with our very local Bartletts as well as Red Crimson and Bosc varieties. I found they needed about 1 hour 15 minutes in the oven but your ripeness will be the guide. If you can’t spoon cut them, there is no shame in using a knife and fork. A nice tawny port (I used Grahams) and distinctive honey worked with the whole spices. Love how this recipe can scale from one-to-many with just a tiny bit of planning.
Entirely delicious hot, warm, and even (or especially!) cold for breakfast.
The aroma of the cooking port and spices was very pleasant. The syrup was very sticky and was pleasant enough. I served the hot pears with ice cream so that it melted to create more sauce.
A very simple and elegant dessert. The pears are delicious, tender, and spicy. This would be great for a dinner party with a scoop of ice cream.