Join Culinate

With a free Culinate membership, you can:

  • Create your own recipe collections
  • Queue recipes for later use
  • Blog your culinary endeavors
  • Be part of our online community of cooks
  • And much more…
Join Now

Wine-Poached Pears

From the book Mother’s Best by and
Yield 4 pears


Red wine gives these pears — an essential component of Poached Pear, Rogue River Blue Cheese, and Hazelnut Salad — a complex flavor and lovely garnet hue. They’re impressive sliced and served in a salad, or you can turn them into a quick yet elegant dessert by drizzling them with syrup made from reducing the poaching liquid (see Note) and garnishing with whipped cream, crème fraîche, or vanilla ice cream. They’re perfect as a dessert for an elegant brunch.


cups inexpensive dry red wine
cups water
1 strip (2 inches) lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 firm, ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, stems intact


  1. Combine the red wine, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon stick in a narrow, deep saucepan that holds at least 3 quarts. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  2. Stand the pears up in the liquid or lay them down so they are covered by the poaching liquid. Place a small heatproof plate on top to keep them submerged.
  3. Cover the pot and gently simmer the pears over low heat, turning them occasionally with tongs, until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the pears to cool in the liquid. Remove the spices and lemon zest. Refrigerate the pears in the poaching liquid for up to 3 days. Ideally, let the pears come to room temperature before serving.


To reduce the poaching liquid to a syrup, bring it to a boil over medium-high heat in a shallow pan or sauté pan (the wider the pan, the more quickly liquids will reduce due to evaporation). Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by three-quarters, 40 to 50 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool a bit.

To serve, let it drip off the end of a spoon as you move your hand back and forth over the salads or dessert pears, or pour it into a squeeze bottle and drizzle the syrup over. (Look for squeeze bottles at kitchen or restaurant-supply stores. They’re similar to ketchup and mustard bottles, and they give you more control so you can attempt interesting patterns and avoid blobs of sauce.)

This content is from the book Mother’s Best by Danielle Centoni and Lisa Schroeder.

There are no comments on this item
Add a comment

Think before you type

Culinate welcomes comments that are on-topic, clean, and courteous. For the benefit of the community we reserve the right to delete comments that contain advertising, personal attacks, profanity, or which are thinly disguised attempts to promote another website.

Please enter your comment

Format: Bare URLs are automatically linked; use this style: [ "place text to be linked here"] for prettier links. You may specify *bold* or _italic_ text. No HTML please.

Please identify yourself

Not a member? Sign up!

Please prove that you’re not a computer

Culinate 8

Kale in the raw

Eight versions of kale salad

Eight ways to spin everyone’s favorite salad.

Graze: Bites from the Site
First Person

The secret sharer

A father’s legacy

The Culinate Interview

Mollie Katzen

The vegetarian-cooking pioneer


Down South

Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more

Local Flavors

A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice