White Wine Poached Pears

dessert love food recipe
Isabelle Namnoum
recipe developer
Isabelle Namnoum

Serves 4


  • 1 bottle (750ml) Sauvignon Blanc or other crisp white wine 

  • 2 cups water

  • ½ cup fresh orange juice

  • ½ cup cane sugar

  • 2 Tbsp honey

  • Zest of half an orange

  • Zest of half a lemon

  • 1 lemon, halved

  • 4 slightly firm Bartlett pears

  • 1 pint good-quality vanilla ice cream, for serving


  • For poaching, it’s best to use pears on the firmer side of ripe, so that they don’t get mushy and fall apart. 

  • To prevent the peeled pears from browning, rub the flesh with lemon juice and get them into the poaching liquid ASAP. 

  • The poaching time of the pears will vary depending on their firmness, taking anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes.

Sometimes the most delicious desserts are the simplest. And it doesn’t get much simpler than fruit. Poached pears, while simple, bring elegance to the table. Aromatic and subtly sweet, my white-wine poached pears are the perfect partner for vanilla ice cream. And they’re low on fuss, too, which is always a plus in my book.

Depending on my mood, I might serve the pears whole, which is quite dramatic, or sliced in half and cored. Whether halved or whole, poached pears definitely want to be served with ice cream--absolutely delicious!

By Isabelle Namnoum


Step 1
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the wine, water, orange juice, sugar, honey, and citrus zest. Gently stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, gently stirring the poaching liquid with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and cover until the pears are ready to be added.

Step 2
While the liquid simmers, peel the pears with a vegetable peeler, and rub the flesh with the halved lemon to prevent browning. Gently lower each pear into the simmering liquid, using a pair of tongs or holding onto the stem. Lay each pear on its side. Cover the pot, and let the pears poach on one side for 20 minutes. Lift the lid and, with a large slotted spoon, carefully turn over the pears so the other side is submerged in the liquid. Cover and let the pears poach until you can easily pierce the pear with a sharp knife, about 20 to 25 minutes more. 

Step 3
Remove the pears from the pot. Pour off and reserve half of the poaching liquid. Return the remaining liquid to the pot over high heat, and reduce until you have about ½ cup of syrupy liquid. Remove from heat. 

Step 4
Place the poached pears in individual serving dishes. Drizzle each with some of the syrup. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream. Or refrigerate for up to three days, storing the pears in the unreduced, reserved poaching liquid.

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