Who here likes wine? I definitely do, so I couldn’t resist making an easy dessert with wine as one of the main ingredients. These oven-poached pears with white wine are beautiful enough for a romantic dinner for two but also easy enough to make for a crowd. They are also super festive, making them the perfect dessert for a Thanksgiving celebration or Christmas party.
A Quick Introduction to Poaching
To poach means to place food in a cooking liquid and then to cook the whole thing slowly.
Poaching liquids can include water, wine, stock, or milk. The beauty of poaching is that you can infuse the cooking liquid with any other flavors that you like.
Poaching seasonal fruit is a great way to bring out its flavors. Since fall is my favorite season, I infused the poaching liquid with some of my favorite flavors like star anise, cinnamon, and orange. You can, of course, customize this recipe to highlight whatever flavors you like best.
Poaching also makes for a lovely presentation that will trick people into thinking that you spent hours preparing these oven-poached pears. In reality, it’s as easy as preparing the poaching liquid, submerging your fruit in it, and then either sticking the whole thing in the oven until it is ready or cooking it on the stove top.
As you can probably guess, I chose to oven-poach my pears because you don’t really need to watch the pears or worry about them not being fully submerged. Even if the poaching liquid only comes about halfway up, the steam that is created when you cover your baking dish will evenly cook the pears.
Choosing Wine for Poaching
You should only use a wine that you would drink on its own for poaching. You will really be able to taste it, so it has to be a good-quality wine.
It also helps if it is on the dryer side since you will be adding sugar to your poaching liquid. I ended up choosing an inexpensive Pinot Gris-Viognier blend, and I was thrilled with the results.
To Peel or Not to Peel?
Most recipes for poached pears will ask you to peel and core your pears. I used tiny Seckel pears, so I didn’t bother. The peel will add a slight hint of bitterness, but it actually complements the sweetness of the dish really well.
If you can’t find Seckel pears or if you don’t like any hint of bitterness, you can use regular-size pears and peel them.
I would, however, strongly recommend that you halve them to make sure that they are cooked through at the end.
Other Ways of Serving Oven-Poached Pears
I kept the presentation of these pears pretty simple because I want my guests to be able to taste the flavors that I used to infuse the wine.
The sky is the limit though. These oven-poached pears would be great served over some vanilla ice-cream or topped with homemade whipped cream. If you would like a healthier alternative, you could also make some whipped yogurt and use it in place of the whipped cream.
One last way to serve them would be to spoon them over a slice of cake. Yum!
Oven-Poached Pears with White Wine (V, GF)
These oven-poached pears with white wine are elegant enough for a romantic dinner but also easy enough to make for a crowd. They are infused with festive flavors, making them perfect for a Thanksgiving dinner or holiday party.
- 8 small Seckel pears
- OR 4 regular pears cut in half
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup of dry white wine (I used a Pinot Gris-Viognier blend)
- ½ cup of water
- 1 large piece of orange peel
- ⅓ cup of turbinado sugar or granulated sugar
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 400℉.
- Step 2 Place the pears in an 8×8 in baking dish. If using regular pears, place them cut side down.
- Step 3 Put the star anise, cinnamon stick, white wine, water, orange peel, and sugar into a small sauce pan.
- Step 4 Heat the mixture over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately turn off the heat.
- Step 5 Carefully pour the poaching liquid over the pears. It should come halfway up the baking dish.
- Step 6 Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and place in the preheated oven.
- Step 7 Cook for 20-30 min or until a knife slides easily into the pears.
- Step 8 Serve warm or chilled with some of the poaching liquid. Remove the start anise, cinnamon stick, and orange peel before serving or use them as a garnish.
- You are welcome to peel the pears if you dislike the flavor of the skin.
- If using regular-size pears, it might take longer for them to cook. Check on them every 10 min or so to avoid overcooking them.
Here are other easy desserts that you might enjoy:
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