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Poached Pears with Prunes

Paula Wolfert adapted this lightly spiced, unusual fruit dessert from one created by chef Fatima Mountassamin of Le Tobsil, Marrakech's most ambitious Moroccan restaurant.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 navel orange, with skin, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • One 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole clove
  • 6 large Bartlett pears, with stems, peeled
  • 12 pitted prunes
  • Butter cookies, for serving


  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil with the sugar, orange slices, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and clove; stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears and prunes and cook over moderate heat, turning the pears often, until the pears are tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears and prunes to a shallow serving bowl. Boil the poaching liquid over high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain the syrup over the pears. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the butter cookies alongside.

Make Ahead

The poached pears and prunes can be refrigerated in the strained syrup, covered in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Sweet Moscato d'Asti from Piedmont, Italy, pairs nicely with these fragrant pears.

Contributed By Photo © Quentin Bacon Published May 2010

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