Red-Wine Poached Pears

November 27, 2013

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A triple threat dessert -- the answer to last-minute requests, the reason to add just one more thing to your holiday spread, and a perfect anytime sweet. 

Red-Wine Poached Pears from Food52

You have just over twenty-four hours until Thanksgiving, and dessert is going one of two ways. In scenario 1 we have those of you who've had your pies planned out since last week -- and mised since yesterday. (Is your dough chilling in the freezer right now? If yes, you are scenario 1.) The rest of you have forgotten entirely about dessert, or were just asked to bring it, and have nothing up your sleeve, no time for pie, no patience for chilling or rolling or crimping

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All of you, listen up: Get to the grocery store, and walk past the bramble of people fighting for that last can of pumpkin. Smile smugly. You're going to poach some pears. 

This recipe is quick enough to add to your already-planned spread, simple enough to whip together if you're starting from scratch, and enough of a stunner that what little time you do spend over the stove (spoiler: it'll be 30 minutes) will be worth it.  

Red-Wine Poached Pears

The truth about poached pears is that they ask nearly nothing of you. They're partial to being poached in almost anything: You could lower them into a warm bath of honey and white wine, or Lillet and lemons, or, hell, sweetened, spiced water if you wanted. Poached pears are agreeable, seemingly mousy. 

This version --  fruity red wine spiked with orange peel and thyme -- is festive. Striking. A little attention-stealing. You peel your pears gingerly, and then they swim in a winey broth until tender. And then, much like that scene in every 90s chick flick, the once-homely pear emerges from the poaching liquid -- dramatically -- wearing a skin-tight red dress, glasses gone, an unrecognizable beauty. 

I think they call that low investment, high return. 

Red-Wine Poached Pears from Food52

Tomorrow, when your guests are finally tired of turkey and cranberry sauce and stuffing, and you're finally tired of cooking, you will cut the leftover pears up, and you will put them in grilled cheese sandwiches. You'll tuck into one, and you'll smile again, knowing that this recipe is now, safely and snugly, up your sleeve.

Red-Wine Poached Pears from Food52

Red-Wine Poached Pears 

Serves 6

4 cups red wine
1 1/2  cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup orange juice  
Peels from 1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
6 firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored, stems left intact (or just peeled)  

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

Photos by Eric Moran

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • beth young
    beth young
  • hardlikearmour
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
  • LauriL
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


beth Y. November 28, 2013
I just don't think you can beat a pear poached in red wine in terms of food art. They look stunning and so beautifully simple.
hardlikearmour November 27, 2013
Great piece, Kenzi! I particularly liked the 90's movie ugly-duckling transformation analogy.
Kenzi W. November 29, 2013
Thank you! I couldn't stop thinking about She's All That while I was writing -- glad someone agrees!
LauriL December 4, 2013
Ditto what hardlikearmour said!! The pics were stunning!!