Put Wine to Good Use With This Poached Pear Dessert

Photo by The Matter of Food on Unsplash

The holidays can be fun—but it can also be really tough being around family who you may not get on with. If wine is one of your ways of making it through, why not incorporate the drink into the meal and make this sophisticated dessert?


  • 3-6 medium-sized pears
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8-10 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cups red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Place all the ingredients (except the pears) in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the sugar. 
  2. Once the liquid is ready, peel the pears and place them into the poaching liquid. Avoid peeling the pears beforehand as they will discolor. 
  3. Allow the pears to poach in the liquid on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, but rotate the pears every 5 minutes to ensure they poach evenly on all sides, including the tops of the pears. 
  4. Once the pears have cooked, keep them upright in the poaching liquid and remove the saucepan from the heat, allowing the pears to cool down in the poaching liquid. 
  5. Before serving, remove the pears from the liquid and leave them on a plate, covered with plastic wrap. Heat the remaining liquid in the saucepan, and bring it to a simmer. Allow the liquid to thicken slightly into a syrup. The cooking time depends on how much liquid is left, so keep an eye on it. If the syrup is too thick, add a little water to thin it out. 
  6. To serve, pour a little syrup over the pears, alongside whipped mascarpone cheese or whipped cream.