Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Ready to add a fancy dinner party dessert to your at home cooking repertoire?  Let me introduce you to one of the easiest and prettiest fancy desserts you’ll ever make:  red wine poached pears.  Doesn’t it just sound like you should be eating it at the end of an indulgent meal out?  Plus, look how pretty 🙂

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Seriously, the most difficult part about these beautiful red wine poached pears is peeling the pears.  The rest is completely hands off cooking that doesn’t even require turning on your oven.

For the easiest of easy desserts, you could serve this with vanilla ice cream or store bough whipped cream.  Since it’s the holidays, I went just a touch more decadent and make some sweetened whipped marscapone cream.  It’s like a sturdier version of homemade whipped cream, and it feels extra decadent with the red wine poached pears.

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears over Sweet Mascarpone Whipped Cream

The ingredients here are simple.  It’s important to use Bosc pears since they’re firmer when ripe and hold up better to cooking and to use a light, fruity red wine.  Red wine poached pears are a French dessert and are traditionally made with beaujolais, which is a very light and fruity red wine.  I used pinot noir since I couldn’t find beaujolais, and it turned out great.

 

Red Wine Poached Pears

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the pears

  • 1 750 ml bottle fruity red wine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 4-5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp allspice berries, lightly crushed
  • ¼ tsp whole pink or black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 1 small knob fresh ginger
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 bosc pears, peeled

For the mascarpone whipped cream

  • 8 oz marscapone cheese
  • ¼ pint heavy whipping cream
  • Heaping ¼ cup powdered sugar

Pears with star anise, cardamom pods, and allspice berries - Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Start by preparing the poaching liquid for the pears.  Combine the wine, water, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, allspice, peppercorn, ginger, and sugar in a medium pot.  You want the liquid in the pot to be deep enough to cover the pears once they’re added.

Stir the liquid to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil.

Bosc pears in poaching liquid - Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

While the poaching liquid comes to a boil, get the most tedious part of this recipe out of the way, and peel the pears.  You want to be gentle with them so the flesh doesn’t bruise as you’re peeling.

Once the liquid is boiling, add the pears gently to the pot and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat so that the liquid gently simmers around the pears.  Poach for 30-35 minutes.  Every once in awhile you want to lightly stir the pears to rotate them.  Certain spots will inevitably bob out of the wine, and that can lead to uneven coloring and cooking if you don’t stir them around.

Sweet Mascarpone Whipped Cream for Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

While the pears poach in the red wine, you can make the sweet mascarpone whipped cream.  This part really couldn’t be easier.  Just combine the cream, mascarpone, and powdered sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Beat on low until the mixture becomes light and fluffy and incorporated – about 30 seconds.

If you beat the whipped cream for too long, it will start to de-incorporate and become separated.  If you see this, turn off the mixer and stir with a spatula to bring everything together again.

Sweet Mascarpone Whipped Cream for Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Cover the mascarpone whipped cream and let it sit in the refrigerator until ready for use.  Meanwhile check on the pears.  After 30-35 minutes of cooking you’ll notice the pears becoming softer and more darkly colored.  The liquid will have reduced considerably.

Since bosc pears hold up during the cooking process, they’re more forgiving.  If you cook bosc pears for 40 minutes instead of 35 to get a deeper color, it’s not going to matter all that much.

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears from the red wine liquid and allow them to cool.  Return the red wine to medium to medium high heat and allow to reduce considerably until you’re left with a concentrated, syrupy liquid.  This can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes depending on how much liquid you have left.

You should have about a cup of liquid left, and it should be deeply sweet and spiced.

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears over Sweet Mascarpone Whipped Cream

You can serve these red wine poached pears warm or at room temperature, making it great for dinner parties.  On a small plate or shallow bowl, add a few tablespoons of the mascarpone whipped cream then top each plate with a pear.  Finally drizzle spoonfuls of the sweet syrup overtop each pear.  

A gingersnap cookie on each plate really takes it all over the top 🙂

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears over Sweet Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Bon appétit!

 

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

An elegant, French dessert, these Red Wine Poached Pears are light and easy to prepare!  A showstopper.  

Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the pears

  • 1 750 ml bottle fruity red wine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 4-5 cardamom pods lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp allspice berries lightly crushed
  • ¼ tsp whole pink or black peppercorns lightly crushed
  • 1 small knob fresh ginger
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 bosc pears peeled

For the mascarpone whipped cream

  • 8 oz marscapone cheese
  • ¼ pint heavy whipping cream
  • Heaping ¼ cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine the wine, water, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, allspice, peppercorn, ginger, and sugar in a pot over high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar

  2. Gently peel the pears and add them to the spiced red wine once boiling

  3. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring the pears occasionally

  4. Make the mascarpone whipped cream by combining cream, mascarpone cheese, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.  Beat on low for 30 seconds or until light and fluffy

  5. After poaching, remove the pears from their liquid and allow to cool.  Return the liquid to medium high heat and let reduce for an additional 20 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup

  6. Serve each pear with a dollop of the whipped cream and a healthy drizzle of the spiced red wine syrup 



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