Fine Desserts

The Most Elegant Poached Pears Recipe

4.48 from 88 votes
The best way to eat a pear is to poach it — my elegant Poached Pears recipe takes less than 30 minutes and will wow anyone lucky enough to get a bite.
Two poached pears, one with creme anglaise.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

Poached pears are the perfect dessert for a host to prepare. They’re incredibly elegant looking, so luscious and juicy, and possibly one of the easiest desserts to make! In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to enjoy a firm fruit like a pear — poaching pears make them look and taste delicate.

This poached pear recipe is fairly basic, but it’s made for customization! These beautiful pears can be dressed up or down. You can enjoy them as they are, or add some warming spices to the poaching liquid, like fresh ginger or whole cloves. Personally, I like to top them with my Creme Anglaise

For an added je ne sais quoi, this recipe can also be made using white wine. With or without white wine, the final product looks like it should be served at the finest French restaurants! 

What Are Poached Pears?

Poached pears are simply pears that have been gently poached on your stovetop, typically in a syrup made of sugar and water, but often with wine and other spices. 

Pears, especially winter pears, aren’t known to be 100% delicious 100% of the time, but poaching them really brings out their flavor. The firm texture of this woody fruit is perfect for poaching as well, as they will maintain their shape. 

Poached Pears with creme anglaise poured on top.

What Pears Should I Use For Poached Pears?

If you are poaching pears, you’ll want to use a Bartlett pear. Luckily, Bartlett pears are likely to be the type that your local grocery store carries. They’re very juicy and sweet and perfect for poaching.

Bosc pears would also work well for poaching. They are crisper, almost like an apple, but less sweet. 

What You Need To Poach Pears

How To Make Poached Pears

Poaching pears is a simple and elegant dessert! Here’s how you do it (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. Heat water and sugar in a large pot. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cinnamon sticks, orange, and pears into the water.
  2. Cut a circle of parchment paper that is large enough to fit in the pot. Cut a small circle in the middle of this parchment paper for venting. Place on top of the pears in the water.
  3. Keep the water at a very gentle simmer and cook the pears for about 20 minutes (more or less, depending on the pears’ size and firmness.) You know they are done poaching once they are easily pierced through with a knife.
  4. Allow the pears to cool in the liquid. The longer the pears sit in the poaching liquid, the more flavor is absorbed. 
  5. Serve the pears warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, vanilla crème anglaise, salted caramel sauce, or however you wish!

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips 

  • You can replace half of the water with white wine.
  • Instead of an orange, use lemon for a more tangy taste.
  • Try different additions, like warm spices such as fresh ginger, whole cloves, star anise, allspice, or vanilla bean.
  • Serve these with drizzled with a homemade sauce like Vanilla Cream Anglaise, Salted Caramel Sauce or Dark Chocolate Ganache  or a scoop of Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.
  • This is perfect to serve for dessert after a special occasion dinner. They are beautiful, elegant, not too heavy after a big meal and can be made in advance!
  • Be sure to use very firm pears and simmer very gently or they may get too mushy.
  • These poached pears can be used to make my Pear Frangipane Tart or Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Tart.

Top-down view of elegant poached pears.

How Do I Store Poached Pears?

Store leftover poached pears in their liquid in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can eat these cold or chop them up and add them to your oatmeal! 

Make More Recipes!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

The Most Elegant Poached Pears Recipe

4.48 from 88 votes
The best way to eat a pear is to poach it — our elegant Poached Pears recipe takes less than 30 minutes and will wow anyone lucky enough to get a bite.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 6 pears
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
The best way to eat a pear is to poach it — our elegant Poached Pears recipe takes less than 30 minutes and will wow anyone lucky enough to get a bite.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 6 pears

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts (64 fl oz/1800 ml) water
  • 2 ½ cups (20 oz/565 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 medium orange, sliced
  • 6 large pears, very firm

Instructions

  • Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and orange slices in an 8-quart lidded stockpot over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • While the water is heating, peel the pears: for each pear, first slice the bottom so that it can stand upright. Then peel away all of the skin but leave the stem (for looks).
  • Add the pears to the pot, then cut a circle of parchment paper large enough to fit in the pot on top of the pears. Cut a small circle in the middle for venting and place it on top of the pears in the water.
  • Keep water at a very gentle simmer and cook until the pears can be easily pierced through with a knife, about 20 minutes (more or less, depending on the size, variety, and firmness of the pears).
  • Let pears cool in their liquid, then serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, vanilla crème anglaise, salted caramel sauce or however you wish!
  • Store leftover pears in their liquid in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

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Lloyd
Lloyd
3 years ago

I poach Bosc pears in honey and white wine, and serve with melted blue cheese. I know not everyone likes blue cheese, but the flavour contrasts are incredible. Medium sized Abate pears are nice to use as well providing you can find some that will stand up straight lol. They have a very flowery but delicate flavour.

Nancy
Nancy
2 years ago

I peached the pears with white wine, cinnamon stick, and orange slices exactly as you suggested. I served with chocolate chip ice cream and it was wonderful !!! Everybody loves it!

Candy
Candy
1 year ago

I served the poached pears as the dessert for my New Years dinner celebration last night. This has to be one of the most elegant desserts for a dinner party! If you want to impress, make this recipe with the Creme Anglaise. I think there is a learning curve to getting the Anglaise sauce perfect. Mine did break, but, as you suggested, I used my hand blender to correct, and it worked! I served the pears in their own dish, with a little leaf of basil at the stem. It added the perfect bit of color. Each guest was given… Read more »

Michael McDonald
Michael McDonald
1 year ago

These are great and I’ve had them twice. Super reliable recipe for reasonably ripened (still firm) Bartlett pears. Here’s how I worked them into my dinner plans. I pealed the pears a half hour or so before dinner and let them soak in water (to keep them off air). Then when I started dinner, I replaced the water in the pan with the sugar and cinnamon mixture and set that to a boil as I cooked dinner. Thirty minutes later (I misread the instructions that say 20), I turned off the heat and let them rest in the liquid. The first… Read more »

Richard J Massoth
Richard J Massoth
3 years ago

Hello! I made this for Christmas dessert, with two additions and two substitutions. I added allspice and substituted honey for sugar and a dry Reisling-style wine for the water. To counteract the acidity of the honey, I added 3/8 teaspoon of baking soda. This is a wonderful and easy recipe. Thank you, Gemma!

Rachel
Rachel
1 month ago

Frustrated. Cutting the bottoms flat does not make them remain sitting upright, they float and turn on their side. And the parchment paper is not sufficient to keep the pears submerged. Anyone else have this problem? Any solutions? Thank you

george
george
6 months ago

bloody love these pears

Joanna
Joanna
2 years ago

My advice is to never use Bartlet Pears. They bruise easily. Great for sauces and butters, not so much for poaching. What a basic recipe – really inaccurate titling there. I thought there would be something special with the sauce or something…

jessie
jessie
3 years ago

is there a substitute for cinnamon sticks, say cinnamon oil?

Ada
Ada
3 years ago

Hi Gemma, I am your fan. Do I need to peel the orange or do I just slice it and put the slices with skin on into the pot? The recipe does not say. Thank you.

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Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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