Bill Granger’s poached pears replace the ubiquitously boozy sauce with something just as tasty—a sweet, rich caramel sauce inflected with coffee. They’re so easy to make that you can even do it ahead of time.—Jenny Latreille

Poached Pears FAQs

Can I make poached pears in advance?

You can cover and refrigerate the pears in their liquid, spooning the liquid over the exposed pears once or twice a day, for up to two days. Rewarm over low heat before serving.

Can I make coffee caramel sauce in advance?

You can cover and refrigerate the sauce for up to two days. Rewarm over low heat before serving.

What can I serve with poached pears?

If you want something different from vanilla ice cream, we’d also suggest softly whipped cream (with a sprinkle of cinnamon) or a dollop of crème frâiche.

A poached pear with warm coffee sauce on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a spoon.

Poached Pears with Warm Coffee Sauce

4.25 / 4 votes
This poached pears recipe can be prepared up to two days before serving—a winner for midweek entertaining. Poach your pears and make the easy caramel-like coffee sauce ahead, but warm both before serving.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories676 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


For the pears

  • 4 cups cold water
  • Generous 3/4 cup superfine (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery) or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 ripe pears, preferably Bosc

For the coffee caramel sauce

  • Scant 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 shot espresso, or 2 tablespoons very strongly brewed black coffee
  • Vanilla Ice Cream


Make the poached pears

  • In a large saucepan, heat the water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, peel and core the pears, leaving the stem intact. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that they will stand upright. Add the pears to the pan of simmering liquid. Adjust the heat, if necessary, so only a stray bubble surfaces and poach the pears gently, turning occasionally, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the coffee caramel sauce

  • While the pears poach, place all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Serve the pears

  • Remove the pears from their syrup with a slotted spoon. Place each on a serving plate, drizzle with the warm coffee caramel sauce, and add your scoop of ice cream on the side.
Feed Me Now

Adapted From

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 676 kcalCarbohydrates: 116 gProtein: 4 gFat: 25 gSaturated Fat: 16 gMonounsaturated Fat: 6 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 75 mgSodium: 43 mgFiber: 9 gSugar: 92 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Bill Granger. Photo © 2009 John Kernick. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

How can you go wrong with pears, ice cream, and coffee? While peeling and coring the pears takes a few minutes, they poach up nicely. They had a hint of cinnamon, but it wasn’t overpowering. The coffee sauce took a little more than an occasional stir; it was necessary to watch it closely so the cream didn’t scorch. It produced a caramel-colored, creamy, coffee-flavored sauce that was so good, I could have just grabbed a spoon and had the sauce for dessert.

Once the pears were combined with ice cream and coffee sauce, it was a real treat. Not only did it make a great presentation, but the flavor was great. This is a really good dessert. I saved the poaching liquid (syrup) for other delights, like mixed drinks, or drizzled over a warm pastry.

This poached pears with warm coffee sauce is a very simple recipe, and it works as it is laid out. I’ve never tasted a poached pear, so it was difficult to compare it with anything I have eaten. In the end, though, everything come together and the combination tasted good. I added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon pieces and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder.

What type of pears would taste good in this recipe? Bartlett was too soft, and I’ll try a firm variety like Bosc next time. I poached the whole pear in the liquid, but the pear didn’t absorb the sweetness from the liquid or the flavor of cinnamon.

Afterwards, a quick look on the web showed one recipe where the chef sliced the pear into four to six pieces, not poaching the whole pear. Maybe this will help to absorb the flavors better. Next time, I’ll try it this way.

The coffee sauce was a big hit. It can make be as strong or mild as one likes it.

I love poached pears, and with the weather turning cooler, I’ve had my eye on fall dishes like this one. This poached pears with warm coffee saucewas a very comforting, very tasty dessert. Most of the ingredients we already had on hand, so that was a plus.

Here’s a couple of suggestions for the overall recipe. When I removed the poached pears from the liquid, they were VERY HOT. I’d let them sit in the dessert dishes for at least five minutes so when you add the sauce and ice cream, the ice cream doesn’t just melt directly into the sauce immediately.

Last, the sauce could have been thicker, like a caramel. Maybe the cooking time for the sauce should be lengthened? My sauce was really tasty but was the same consistency as the melted ice cream. I’d have liked the sauce to be thicker. Overall this was a delicious idea, but those are the changes I would personally recommend.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    These poached pears were really tasty. It was my first time poaching a pear and I did use the suggested pear, Bosc, and they turned out really well. The best part about this dessert other than being easy to put together is the coffee sauce. Oh my goodness, I want to just eat the sauce. Or put in my morning coffee instead of Bailey’s. It was so good. It didn’t turn out to be the rich caramel colour in the photo but that doesn’t really matter to me when the flavour is so good. This really is an elegant dessert to put together for a dinner party without too much fuss.

  2. Hi Bill, nice to read your recipes. I tried it last night to make a surprise dinner for my wife and she really liked the dish. Thank you for helping me.