Pears Poached in Red Wine


Dry red wine, sugar, and ripe pears are all you need to make poached pears in red wine, a simple, elegant dessert with a dramatic presentation. Be sure to select a firm variety like bosc, anjou, or seckel pears that will hold their shape during and after cooking. After the pears are cooked, they sit in the cooled poaching liquid for a few hours in the refrigerator, allowing them to soak up even more flavor. The poaching liquid is then boiled into a syrup to serve along with the pears; feel free to add a little whipped cream if you like.

Pears poached in red wine with whipped cream
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Active Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins


  • 5 cups dry red wine

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 10 firm but ripe pears

  • Whipped cream for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine the wine and sugar and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Stir briefly to dissolve the sugar.

  2. Peel the pears; if they don't stand upright, trim the bottoms slightly. Stand the pears in the saucepan and add just enough water to cover them. Place a heatproof plate on top of the pears to help keep them submerged in the liquid. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat and cook until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes.

  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a plate and let the poaching liquid cool completely. Return the pears to the cooled liquid, re-cover them with the plate and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

  4. Transfer the pears to a platter or plates. Strain the poaching liquid into a clean nonreactive saucepan and boil over high heat until syrupy, about 35 minutes. Spoon the syrup over the pears. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

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