These gorgeous red wine poached pears make an elegant and delicious dessert. This seasonal and straightforward dessert is sure to impress!
What led me to making these red wine poached pears? I was planning to make a red wine poached pear frangipane tart with a chocolate crust. Making this dessert involved many steps, one of which was poaching the pears the day ahead of assembling the dessert.
These poached pears are easy to make yet make a beautiful presentation. You can enjoy them as-is, serving them with the reduced poaching liquid, or add them to another dessert such as a tart or a pavlova.
Which pears are best for poaching?
Bosc pears are the best for poaching due to their firmness. However, I used Bartlett pears since that was what I had available. They worked very well since I selected pears that were firm yet ripe. Do not choose pears that are overripe, otherwise, they will turn mushy while cooking. My Bartlett pears retained their shape and firmness throughout the cooking time. Be gentle if you are using Bartlett pears since they can bruise easily during the poaching process. Next time I will try Bosc pears!
A helpful tip for peeling the pears
Put the pears into boiling water for about thirty seconds. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl of warm water, and peel with your fingers. The peels slip off easily. I forgot to do this, but next time I will do it. For further instruction and photos of the process, take a look here.
Which red wine is best for poaching pears?
Select a red wine that you enjoy drinking. I selected a lovely Côtes du Rhône, which was enjoyable by itself. I added some spices, organic cane sugar, orange juice, and water, making a mulled wine mixture for poaching the pears.
If you wish, you may add orange peel, slices of orange, ginger, and/or vanilla. Instead of water, you can add more red wine, juice, Grand Marnier, or brandy. You can add dried fruits to the poaching liquid after the pears are removed and reduce the poaching liquid, as described here.
Tips for making poached pears in red wine
As the pears poach, rotate them to make sure they cook evenly on all sides. Gently rotate the pears so that all sides absorb the red wine poaching liquid.
When the poaching liquid is cooked down, it becomes a syrup that you can pour over the pears. I didn't make the syrup since I planned to put the poached pears on top of a frangipane tart for which I made an almond paste and a vegan chocolate pâté sucrée crust.
How to use the poaching liquid
If you are not going to cook down the poaching liquid to make a syrup, it makes a lovely mulled wine. Above all, do not waste it! You can refrigerate it and reheat it later, whether you choose to enjoy it as mulled wine with a hint of pear or cook it down to serve as a syrup with the pears or another dessert.
A note on the color
Since I didn't core the pears, or slice them before poaching, my pears retained a lovely two-tone shade. The pears were a rose color on the outside only. They still tasted delicious! However, if you would like your pears to be completely red, core them from the bottom before placing them in the poaching liquid.
If you tried these poached pears with red wine, please let me know in the comments, and leave a star rating.
For more vegan and plant-based dessert ideas, take a look at my recipes here.
Poached Pears in Red Wine
- Place the wine, orange juice, cane sugar, water, cloves, cinnamon, and star anise nto a 4 quart saucepan, one that is large enough to hold all of the pears. Mix and bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes.
- While the poaching liquid is boiling, cut a thin horizontal slice on the bottom each peeled pear. Leave the stems on the pears. Lower the heat on the poaching liquid, and place pears into saucepan carefully, making sure they are covered with the liquid.
- Bring the saucepan to a simmer, cover the saucepan, and simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes, until the pears are tender. While they are cooking, gently rotate them every few minutes. Make sure they cook evenly in the poaching liquid. If you need to use a spatula, be very gentle with a flexible spatula to avoid bruising the sides of the pears.
- Remove the saucepan from the stovetop when they are cooked through yet firm. Carefully pick the pears up by their stems and place on a plate or in a serving bowl.
- If you would like to reduce the poaching liquid to serve as a syrup over the pears the same day, boil it for an additional 15 minutes to reduce it. Spoon it over the pears, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- If you would like to serve the pears the next day, keep them in the liquid in a container in the fridge. Every few hours, turn the pears in the liquid. Before serving the pears, take the spices out of the poaching liquid, and boil the liquid for 15 minutes until it reduces. Take it off the heat and let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Spoon it over the pears immediately before serving.