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pears poached in red wine, honey & cardamom

This will be my final sweet offering for Valentine’s night. Ever since my eyes first fell on these burgundy beauties, I’ve been wanting to devour make them for my honey. These pears poach slowly in the oven for hours, but they require almost none of your active time. Steeped in honey and red wine, with a few crushed pods of cardamom, they’re a dream. Served with a dollop of vanilla-ed softly whipped cream, they may be a dream hatched in heaven.

Pears Poached in Red Wine, Honey & Cardamom

  • 4 Bosc pears (or 8 small Anjou)
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed

Preheat oven to 250°F  (120°C.) Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact.

Pour the wine and honey into a medium saucepan and add the cardamom pods.  Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Place the pears into an oven-proof pan or lidded baking dish with sides high enough to accommodate the wine mixture, keeping as much of the pears submerged as possible. Pour the wine over top. Place a lid on the pot and slip the pears into the oven. Bake for 4 to 5 hours, turning the pears gently from time to time to evenly poach and color them.

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Carefully remove the pears with a slotted spoon or with your gentle hands (not by their stems) and place in a bowl wide enough to accommodate them each lying on their sides.

Strain the wine mixture into a sauce pan and boil for about 20 minutes, long enough for the liquid to become a thickened sauce that will coat a metal spoon.

Ladel over the pears and leave at room temperature for at least two hours, spooning the sauce over their tops again from time to time. The color will deepen the longer the pears remain soaking.

To serve, carefully transfer to plates. Drizzle sauce over top, and pass the vanilla-ed cream.

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This dish was adapted from one appearing in French Taste, by Laura Calder

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For a printable version of this recipe, click here

32 Comments Post a comment
  1. Yummy. I love wine soaked pears.

    February 12, 2012
  2. What a lovely, lovely Valentine’s treat, spree! I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than those luscious, pear-shaped deep red pears. I once had some poached pears made for me years ago by a friend. I think your addition of cardamom pods would take the flavor right over the top!! xo Smidge

    February 12, 2012
    • Thank you Smidge! I’ve had white wine-poached pears before but never the red. I have to say I really do love the cardamom in these, and the color, so mmm! xo, spree

      February 12, 2012
  3. Lovely – we often used to eat these with the family in Italy, but never with the cardamom which I think would really add something special to the flavour. They look so gorgeous!

    February 12, 2012
    • Thanks Tanya. Wondering if you served them with marscapone, whipped cream, creme fraiche or something else? Or simply gobble as is?

      February 12, 2012
  4. Cardamom and pears is one of my favorite combinations. And your beautiful photos are inspiring!

    February 12, 2012
    • oh thanks so much emmy!

      February 12, 2012
  5. Beautiful! Dessert that’s also a work of art, so fitting for Valentine’s Day dinner.

    February 12, 2012
  6. I so enjoy cooking and photographing pears – in fact I was doing it today. I very much like the white pear shot. Lovely post – so no change there.

    February 12, 2012
    • I enjoy it too, so much! They’re one of the most photogenic, seductive and versatile, delicious foods, going from savory to sweet with such elegance! (just between you and me Roger, since no one else is listening – my husband and i went out yesterday thinking we’d be back soon enough to take the pears from the oven. What happened instead is that we lingered a bit, forgetting, and came home to some delicious-smelling pears that were on the soft, slightly slump-y side. The cooked pears are relying on one another for support, but somehow that seems appropriate… don’t all us pairs rely on a good prop-up now and then?)

      February 12, 2012
  7. We normally use a sweet wine. A recipe we had didn’t call for honey with the red wine, which would be perfect. I love the picture. Like two lovebirds. Great roundup!

    February 12, 2012
    • I was hoping someone would notice how snuggled up and in-love these two were! thanks, Greg! 🙂

      February 12, 2012
  8. I love poached pears, but my partner doesn’t so I don’t often get to eat them. and I just love the addition of cardamom pods

    February 12, 2012
    • isn’t it SUCH a pity when we have to eat things like this all by ourselves? 🙂

      February 12, 2012
  9. I love how you continue to surprise with your recipes — I wouldn’t have thought of the cardamom — and photos. I would never have dreamed that white pear shot possible — ahhh! I love all the juicy loveliness here. Happy Valentines Day. What a great series.

    February 12, 2012
    • Ashley – Happy Valentines Day Ashley! And thanks so much for the dessert-ish comments you leave for me here! xo!

      February 12, 2012
  10. Great recipe. I love pears stewed in red wine with a few spices thrown in. Love the colour the wine turns the pears. And your images are wonderful.

    February 12, 2012
  11. Cardamom is such a lovely spice isn’t it. I love popping it in lots of different dishes.
    Beautiful photos again spree. The two pears leaning against each other would look rather lovely on my kitchen wall 🙂

    February 12, 2012
    • I’m jotting you an email ! In the meantime, thanks for the words you leave!

      February 13, 2012
  12. Your pictures are beyond lovely and this is such a classy recipe.

    February 12, 2012
  13. You are going to make a cook of me yet! One day I am going to get very courageous and make one of your to die for dinners and photograph it and you are going to fall over from the shock of it all!

    February 12, 2012
    • Cyndi, you’ve put an ear to ear smile on my face! It won’t take enormous courage, just a simple willing “yes.” You can do it girl! And I can’t WAIT to see the photos when you do! (at the same time I’ve got to say, it would be such a hoot, such a lovely time, to cook right alongside you!) xo

      February 13, 2012
  14. Well! I was looking forward to seeing what you’d serve for dessert and you didn’t disappoint! I’ve served poached pears before, Spree, but certainly nothing like these. Everything about this dessert says Valentine’s Day. Well done!

    February 12, 2012
  15. What a beautiful dish! Can’t wait to try it. Thank you.

    February 12, 2012
    • Kelli, thank you! I hope you will!

      February 13, 2012
  16. Love the addition of cardamom to the wine

    February 13, 2012
    • We did too Alli! And cardamom and pears are such a natural! 🙂

      February 13, 2012
  17. Jean-François #

    That looks simply amazing: such a beautiful colour, and cardamom is a perfect accent. Thanks for sharing the photos and the recipe.

    February 13, 2012
    • Thank YOU Jean-Francois!

      February 13, 2012
  18. Thank you, Spree. I just bought a bag of Bosc pears today and we have red wine in the fridge that needs to be used. I love cardamom — I’m sure to try this soon.

    February 14, 2012
  19. Pears and cardamom are such perfect natural partners. It’s been too long since I made poached pears. Guess I’d better get at it again soon! 🙂

    February 19, 2012

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  1. The Weekly Dish 02/19/2012 | Pippi's in the Kitchen Again

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