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Every year I spend an inordinate amount of my time poaching fruit. It’s usually because I’m powerless to resist all the pears in baskets at my market, and buy far more than I need. Yes, much of my sweet bounty finds its way into sorbets, cakes, ice creams, and jams. But one of my favorite ways to keep those pears around a little longer is to poach them.

Poaching is gentle, stove-top cooking, and winter pears are ideal candidates since they keep their shape. Poaching also improves the taste of ho-hum pears. That’s especially good news for you do-ahead folks out there; the longer the pears sit in the flavorful syrup after poaching, the better they’ll taste. Since there isn’t a big variety of fruit tumbling my way in the winter, to get my fruit fix, I’ll keep some poached pears in the refrigerator and enjoy them diced and mixed with my mid-morning yogurt and granola.

Be sure to start with firm, ripe pears.

My choice are Bosc pears, similar to Conference pears, which I use in France. Tiny Seckel pears, if you can get them, are lovely poached whole or in halves, with the cores scooped out. And bulbous Winter Nellis work very well, too, as will Anjou pears, although I find their flavor somewhat muted. Softer pears like Comice or Bartlett, while tasty, will fall apart during poaching, so they’ll have to go stand in the corner.

comice pear

You can customize the poaching liquid to suit your taste, adding various spices, slices of fresh ginger, vanilla beans, or wine to the mix. And I also change sweeteners, swapping out honey for sugar. Just be sure to keep it relatively simple. It’s nice to make things lively, but too many flavors can spoil the broth. Once the pears are poached, I’ll often add a handful of dried fruits, such as sour cherries, cranberries, raisins, or currant to the still-hot liquid, and the heat will plump them up nicely.

Poaching pears couldn’t be easier, but during cooking, the one thing you want to watch out for is the pears either poking out of the water or not cooking them enough. Either will cause the pears to discolor. You want to make sure they cook evenly, and to remain submerged in liquid. To prevent this, I craft a circle of parchment paper to fit over the top of the pears while they’re cooking with a vent hole in the middle to let the steam escape.

cutting triangle fitting cone

Simply take a large circle or square of parchment paper and fold it into a triangle. Hold the point hovering over the center of the pan you’re using, then use your scissors to trim away the excess paper, so it’ll fit snugly over the fruit. Then cut a hole in the center, which will allow some of the steam to escape and help the liquid reduce a bit. Drape the paper over the pears while they’re cooking, pressing down every so often while they simmer, to make sure the liquid or vapor is covering them.

If you’d like, after poaching the pears, you can reduce the liquid until it becomes a thick syrup and pour it over the pears before serving. To do that, remove the pears with a slotted spoon and strain out any spices or seasonings, then cook the liquid over medium-high heat until it’s reduced by about half. If I’m serving the pears by themselves, or alongside a cake, I’ll do that to make a richer, thicker, more flavorful sauce.

Poached Pears

You can also poach the pears in halves (cored) or whole. Note that the poaching time will be longer if the pears are in halves or whole, rather than quarters. The best way to test if the pears are done is by poking one with a paring knife; if it meets no resistance, it’s done. Depending on the pear - and if it's whole, halved, or quartered - the pears can cook in as little as 10 minutes, but if whole, expect them to take longer. I’ve offered a few variations at the end of the recipe for changing the seasonings or poaching liquid. You can serve these pears alongside a favorite cake, like the Chocolate pain d’épices, from The Sweet Life in Paris, or even a slice of traditional Pain d’épices. Of course, they go very well with gingerbread, and I’ve even swapped them out for the quinces in Quince tarte Tatin. And don't forget Poires belle Hélène, a classic French dessert of poached pears with vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce, topped with a few sliced, toasted almonds
  • 1 quart (1l) water, 1l
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey, (optional)
  • 4 Bosc pears (or another firm variety), peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons whole or lightly crushed cloves or allspice berries, a few slices of fresh lemon, one vanilla bean split lengthwise, 2-3 star anise, 6-8 slices fresh ginger slices, (suggested additions)
  • In a large saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and honey (if using) until warm and the sugar is dissolved. Add any of the suggested additions that you wish.
  • Slide in the pears and cover with a round of parchment paper with a small vent hole cut in the center.
  • Keep the liquid at a very low boil and simmer the pears until cooked through, 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the pears. While they are poaching, every so often gently push down the pears to make sure they are submerged in poaching liquid. (The round of paper helps to keep the pears moist and wet.)
  • When translucent and a paring knife inserted into the pears meets no resistance, remove from heat and let the pears cool in their liquid.
  • If you wish, you can also remove the pears with a slotted spoon and reduce the liquid by about half, and pour that over the pears, which will make a richer sauce.


Options: After poaching the pears, while the liquid is still warm, add approximately 1/2 cup (120 g) dried sour cherries, cranberries, raisins, or dried currants and let them plump.
Serve the pears warm or at room temperature. Accompany with perhaps a scoop of Vanilla ice cream and some dark chocolate sauce, a spoonful of crème fraîche, Milk chocolate & black pepper ice cream, fresh raspberries, or alongside a wedge of spice cake or gingerbread.
Store the pears in their liquid in the refrigerator, in a covered container, until ready to use. Remove the pears from the refrigerator a few hours prior to serving and re-warm them gently in the liquid, if you wish. The pears will keep for up to 5 days. The pears do improve in flavor after a day or so in the poaching liquid.
In place of the water, you can replace the water with 2 cups (500 ml) water and 2 cups (500 ml) white wine (sweet or dry), or 3 cups (750 ml) red wine and 1 cup (250 ml) water.

Related Recipes & Links

Quince tarte Tatin

Rosy-Poached Quince

Persimmon Bread

Pear Ice Cream with Wine-Poached Pears (Use Real Butter)

Chez Panisse Gingersnaps

Pear Butter (Simply Recipes)

Pain d’epices: French spice bread


Quick Mincemeat

Pear Varieties (California Pear Advisory Board)



    • Iris

    Hi David, how’s it going? just wanted to say i love you, i’ve been stuck at home for the past few days due to h1n1 and dying of boredom, until i accidentally stumbled on your blog! :) at the moment confined to bland congee and such, but the moment i get better i am trying one of your lovely ice cream recipes!! (great photography btw, what camera do you use? the pics have got me salivating like no cruel haha)
    ciao now and take care

    • krysalia

    I smile a lot imagining your tiny kitchen overstuffed with fruit baskets and you in the middle, happy as a clam :D.
    This poaching method seems so simple and flavorfull, I can nearly smell it from the pictures, especially “poached pears” just above the recipe : I love the way it’s composed. You’re really good at this !
    I was wondering… I do not remember if you have already talked about a dehydrator device on your blog ? My mother in-law has one, and while it takes a lot of counter space for tiny parisian appartments, the results she has on her garden fruits (little red fruits, pears, peaches and all) is superb. At least, dehydrate some of the fruits would save space for the dehydrator itself on your counter :D

    • Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

    When they are done perfectly, there is nothing on earth quite as delicious as a poached pair. I love them… particularly drizzled with chocolate… and Bosc pears are my favorite. But I have never seen this parchment paper method before, and I am going to have to try it. Many recipes use wine for the poaching fluid, (and I notice you have it in the ‘variation’)… but you use water here so I imagine you prefer it. Is there a reason you don’t use wine in the basic recipe? I am curious. If you do use wine with the Bosc pears, do you use white?
    Thank you for this… I am buying way too much fruit too :)

    • Cristina Lasarte

    Hi David,

    I am an argentine pâtissière, living in Paris since last may. I discovered your books and your blog here…I just love them!
    Your interesting posting about “poaching pears” took me to the poached quince tarte tatin….that is one of my “Argentine classics” I poach quince in Malbec wine (preferably from the province of Mendoza, ha ha!), and I serve “la tarte” with “crème au mascarpone” (that I keep in a siphon till the last minute) The combination quince/fromage is a daily argentine dessert…we also replace the quince for “pâte de patates douces…a National favorite !!!! together with “dulce de leche” (confiture de lait), of course!!!!
    Couldn’t make it to your book signing event, a real pity! I was looking forward to meeting you….

    Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris
    PS/ I laughed a lot reading your “how to survive in Paris” I felt the same way

    • pam

    I love poached pears. Poaching transfers the humble pear into something entirely different.

    • Camille

    Mmm, poached pears. What a great excuse to pick up a liter of salted butter caramel ice cream! And now i know what to serve for dessert on saturday. (We’re having company.) So thanks! It was good to see you last week – and i’m definitely with you on the simplification. Glad it’s not just me. :)

    • Sunny

    I poach whole pears in red wine for a very pretty and very simple dessert.

    I peel them, and sprinkle with a little lemon juice (I leave the stems on and cut a slice off the bottom so they’ll sit flat. Core them with a small melon baller.

    Poaching liquid is red wine, honey, a cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves, and a couple of whole peppercorns.

    I stand the pears in the liquid, then cover tightly…yes, I know that the tops are then technically steamed, but stay with me….the wine leaches into the bottom of the pears, so you get a gorgeous red fading into the yellow of the pears. Pretty. If you really want the last detail, make a tiny slit next to the stem with a paring knife and insert a mint leaf or two.

    They’re done when they’re just soft, but a tiny bit al dente. Lift them out gently and keep them warm — reduce the liquid if you wish, or just spoon some onto a platter. Serve whole with an almond tuile — everyone raves about this one, and it’s simple, light, and tasty.

    I usually make it with Bosc/Conference, but I’ve also made them with Bartletts. The last time I made them, I told my produce vendor what I wanted, and he pulled out a box of absolutely picture-perfect Bartletts from under the counter. They weren’t any more expensive than the others (it was a little early in the season) — and they came out fabulous.

    • Nnacy

    I think you must have forgotten just how delicious poached pears are with your salted caramel ice cream. In the Fall that is my go to recipe for dessert. Actually last night it was just the ice cream. Today we add the pears!
    Thanks again!

    • yari

    Poached pears… I love them. I usually cook them with natural sweeteners such as maple syrup or malt. But I think they are great with unrefined sugar as well, as you suggested. Thanks for the parchment paper trick.

    • Maite

    Dark chocolate shavings can also add a touch of excitement to simple poached pears.

    • Haley

    Reducing used to scare me, but then I learned this trick:

    Take a wooden spoon and put a rubber band on the handle (or you can mark it with a pencil). Stick the handle in whatever you need to reduce and mark the level with the rubber band. Then, start reducing. If you need to reduce by half, it is easy to see what half is by sticking the spoon handle in again and measuring against the rubber band.

    Voila! No more accidentally reducing to practically nothing when you were only supposed to reduce by 1/3.

    • MollyCookie

    This is a great tutorial. I think the tip about the parchment paper is a great one. I just acquired a large amount of pears have been brainstorming ideas for what to do with them. This sounds like a great way to use some.

    • Laura

    On my to do list this morning was to check my copy of Ripe For Dessert so I could make poached pears for my daugther’s 5th grade French class. Thanks for anticipating my need!

    • ron shapley

    Hi Dave…

    how long will the pears keep in the refrig ??? Is it like canning ???

    • Frenchie

    Thank you for this guide, yesterday I was actually thinking about poaching pears, but given that I have never done it I felt a little overwhelmed. I really love Abate pears, would those make good poaching pears or are they also too soft?

    It kills me, I used to heckle my mom for loving cooked fruit so much and now I find it to be one of the best things there are, I guess that just goes to show the whole apple’s distance from the tree thing people are always talking about. Yikes! Anyhow, no need to tell you the intricate details of my life, so thank you for helping me out with my next cooking adventure.

    • Nick, Montreal

    I too love poached pears – great to have some kicking around for a quick fix dessert with a smidge of ice cream. The first time I ever poached pears was with a few star anise thrown into the poaching liquid, but I have to admit I found it a bit overwhelming. Almost medicinal. Now would be much more inclined to use something that doesn’t shout over the delicate pear flavour… like vanilla.

    And the syrup, shaken with a bit of vodka over ice? Awesome…

    Love your blog, David!

    • David

    Frenchie: I’d never heard of Abate fetel pears, so I did a search and they look close to Bosc pears. I’d say yes, but if you try them, let me know how they work out. (Although I also read they’re expensive, unless you’re in Italy, so they might be better candidates for out-of-hand eating if they’re pricey.)

    Nick: That, my friend, is a great tip. Thanks!

    Krysalia: I used to use a dehydrator, which I loved, but no longer have room for one. I am, however, making room for my new deep-fryer. I guess it’s all about priorities ; )

    Camille: I think living in France, you get used to things have simpler flavors. When I lived in the states, I was a lot more heavy-handed with the spices and flavorings when baking, but have come to appreciate pure flavors much more.

    Michaela: I wanted to present a very basic recipe, then give folks a bunch of options (or discover their own.) Because a portion of people don’t drink wine, or may be serving these to kids, I give the wine proportions as an option.

    ron: Storage info is mentioned at the end of the recipe.

    Haley: Great tip! I once was reducing a fairly expensive bottle of sauternes, and I looked away for a moment (or more, perhaps..) and when I came back, the whole thing had evaporated!

    • Laura

    I have tree of pears that needs to be picked within a week when they ripen so I am always trying to find ways to preserve them. One year I have poached few and I still have some jars left. I used star anise and a little cinnamon in the syrup and they worked so well.

    Thanks for reminding me of this great way to preserve fruit, time to open a jar!

    • Amanda

    That pear looks like a real little bad-ass, hanging out in the corner with that peeling paint and sketchy “pavement”. All it needs is a smoke and a tin of spraypaint!

    • Emily

    I laughed out loud when I saw the poor little Bartlett pear sitting by itself in the corner thinking about the tragedy of fate that makes it fall apart in a poaching liquid.

    Thanks for that!

    • Richard

    David- Looks wonderful! I love poached pears, have been making them for years. I use red wine and concord grape juice with a little cinnamon and lemon zest. When the pears are done I reduce the poaching liquid down to a thick sauce. The sauce is reduced enough when large bubbles start to appear. I serve the pears with roasted grapes drizzled with the sauce and a dollop of creme fraiche. Délicieux
    PS, looking forward to meeting you in Ixtapa!

    • viviane bauquet farre / food & style

    Beautiful post David! As always… Poached pear are a favorite in my household too (how can they not?!). I love poaching Bosc because of their slightly “floral” aroma and their firm flesh.

    When I lived in Vermont, I decided to try poaching pears with a little maple syrup. To my surprise it turned out absolutely delicious and I didn’t have to use as much of it as I would sugar. Since then, I haven’t poached pears in anything else!

    I wrote a post about that I my blog… I would love for you to check it out.

    Thank you so much!

    PS: Love the trick with the parchment paper – I usually turn the pears over half way through the cooking to prevent discoloring, but now I’ll have to try this!

    • Chef Gwen

    Fabulous tutorial, David. Sad that my favorite pear, the Comice, has to sit in a corner, though. I don’t like the taste of Bosc. Pretty, yes, but flavorless, which is why the poaching liquid is oh so critical.

    • June

    I just poached some pears in pomegranate juice and they’re a lovely color and flavor. They’re also pretty and tastey poached with cranberries – tiz the season afterall.

    • Veronica

    Just picked up 3 kg of hard pears at the market for 0.90 euros/kg, so poached pears are in my future :) But I’m going to do this:

    I tried it for the first time last week and they were the BEST poached pears I’ve ever had. Plus once bottled, you can keep them for up to a year. And give them as presents. I don’t have a photo, but they come out almost mahogany coloured — beautiful.

    I love the tip about the paper — I’ll definitely try that. There’s so little liquid in Belgian pears that it can be difficult to keep them submerged.

    • Haley

    A whole bottle of Sauternes? That is a tragic loss! But I bet your kitchen smelled nice.

    • sally richardson

    Love the parchment.

    I like to use pears as part of a savory dish with pork or ham, I poach them with bay leaves – a Stephanie Alexander recipe, she also poaches pears with lemon myrtle leaves, which I would love to try but Myrtus communis is a little hard to find out here on the end of Long Island!

    Thanks for a wonderful blog!

    • David

    Veronica: Thanks for the link. But do you just cook the pears whole for that length of time, then pack them into jars? What about the seeds and cores?

    Haley: Luckily it was at a restaurant. Well, not luckily for them…

    June: Yes, fruit juice works really well, too.

    viviane: I love maple syrup, but was afraid unless you used a good quantity of it, the flavor would get lost. And since it’s expensive I hesitated to suggest it without trying it. Glad to know it works.

    Chef Gwen: I wouldn’t feel too bad for the Comice pear. It got some good lovin’ later…sliced, diced, and mixed with some oatmeal.

    • Sharon

    Sounds delicious. How ripe should the pears be for the best result?

    • Susan

    Thanks for the tip about using the parchment. I get tired of standing over them submerging them with my utensils! The poaching liquid is also great to use as a basting liquid for broiling the pears or roasting other fuits or root vegetables. I have added Port, a little stock and fresh rosemary to it, reduced the sauce and basted them to serve with a Pork roast. Very tasty! Oh, and I bet those pears are wonderful with your sticky toffee pudding, too.

    • Erol Senel

    Poached pear and peaches, two of my favorite desserts! Thanks for the recipe and don’t forget to have a glass of terrific Tokaji with them.

    OK, so how am I supposed to make it through the day now?!

    • Shila

    I too am helpless when it comes to beautifully ripe fruit at the farmer’s market. The first ripe pears to find their way into my bag this season will certainly poached.

    Thanks for your clear and deliciously photographed instructions.

    P.S. Chocolate Pain d’epices + poached pear looks like a winning combo

    • Lindsey Shere

    And remember that you can use those Comices and Bartletts for wonderful Baked Caramel Pears.

    • Lindsey Shere

    And remember that you can use those Comices and Bartletts for wonderful Baked Caramel Pears.

    • Victor Montreal

    Once in a while I’ll make pears poached in spiced red wine, reduce the syrup, bring it to a dinner or dessert party, and be SHOCKED by how much this impresses people. One guest asked how I made the syrup, and then she corrected me – “You haven’t reduced the wine, you’ve augmented it.”

    I also like to poach dried fruit (dates, figs, and/or apricots) in spiced red wine with honey, reduce the syrup, add some rosewater, cool the fruit, stuff them with blanched almonds, peel (if dates), return the syrup to the dish, and accompany with mascarpone or cream. A garnish of pomegranate seeds and a side dish of buttery cookies don’t hurt.

    • Lindsey Shere

    And by the way Bosc pears are Beurre Bosc from Belgium, 1809, Conference are an English pear, 1894.

    • Lisa (dinner party)

    Ooh, I see Thanksgiving dessert…

    Thanks for the inspiration, David!

    • abbey

    i made these today. thank you for recipe since i came upon a pear tree near my home recently. i am wondering how i can keep them longer than 5 days, though. can poached pears be frozen at all?

    • Veronica


    yes, whole, just peeled — leave stalks, cores and all intact … and cook for 6 hours (3 covered + 3 uncovered) at a *very* slow simmer — barely a bubble rising (I’m cooking them in a Le Creuset cocotte on top of my woodburner, which is perfect for this). You’d think they’d collapse, but they don’t. You’d also expect the result to taste of vinegar, but it doesn’t. You end up with an intense, mahogany-coloured syrup that tastes as if it has alcohol in it, but doesn’t. I think it probably improves with age, but we scoffed most of the last lot within a week :)

    • Sunny

    That sounds something like an old Southern US recipe for pickled peaches — which are divine, by the way, and don’t taste anything of pickles.

    The peaches are peeled, but I can’t remember if they’re pitted or not (remembering that peach kernels can be poisonous in concentration, just like apricot kernels).

    The cooking liquid is sugar, water, and cinnamon — which is surprisingly delish with peaches.

    • dkahane

    Poached pears + a scoop of vanilla ice cream + dark chocolate sauce + crème Chantilly = Poire Belle Hélène, perhaps the greatest dessert ever invented!

    • Smita

    So lovely! Completely wonderful – thank you!

    • Linda H

    I poached pears, and loved the results, until a few years ago, but after my husband tasted baked pears in cream, he always wants pears done that way. (Dot 4 peeled and cored pear halves with 2T butter, sprinkle with 2T sugar. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Pour half cup heavy cream over pears. Bake 20 minutes.) The resulting sauce is a pear flavored caramel sauce. One dinner guest disappeared into the kitchen with a spoon to get the last of the sauce from the baking dish.

    • Henry

    We Chinese people do poached pear too but the syrup is much lighter than the Western version – we actually drink the ‘sweet soup’ while eating the pear! We like to add dried chrysanthemum flowers with some bitter almonds while poaching. The chrysanthemum works soooooooooo well with the pears. Very refreshing! Please do try this version if you ever come by dried chrysanthemum!

    • june2

    Oooo…I like this Chinese recipe, thank you, Henry! and I love the vanilla speckles all over the perfectly sliced pears in the post above. So beautiful.

    • Unplanned Cooking

    Such a great idea. Our pears are always a little hard when we buy them, and by the time they soften, I’ve forgotten about them — and then they end up rotting. Thanks for the idea.

    • David

    Lindsey: Thanks! Will amend that.

    Hnery: Don’t forget the ginko nuts and Chinese dates : )

    Veronica: Appreciate the clarification. Will go back and re-read the recipe, and might just give it a try. (Although the 6 hr cooking time is kind of a commitment!) I added your recipe to the links, so I don’t forget it.

    Unplanned Cooking: Because pears rot from the inside out, it can be hard to tell if a pear is overripe or not by feeling it. It’s best to buy pears when they’re in season; it seems that towards the end of the winter, they’re more susceptible to that.

    • Laura [What I Like]

    This brings back such great memories. I used to work at this cute little bakery called La Farine in Oakland when I was in high school and they made the best poached pear tarts. Pears poached in red wine draped over pastry cream on a tart shell. Pretty perfect really. Now you’ve got me all excited to stock up on pears to poach and keep in the fridge for whatever pear fancy strikes me!

    • Kate Dickerson

    Thanks for the tip about the parchment paper. Usually, I am constantly spooning poaching liquid over my pears, which is both hot and tedious! You have saved me from doing that again.

    Here’s an idea I got from Martha Stewart, years ago. In two separate batches, poach some pears in white wine, and some in red wine. They will come out completely different colors, and add a splashy look to pies, or whatever. They also taste slightly different, which adds another dimension beyond the visual aspect.

    • dave

    Hi David. We’ve had some really lovely pears in the farmers markets here in LA recently and I woke up this morning thinking about making a pear tart. I lay in bed trying to remember how you poached those quinces in Paule’s kitchen and made a note that I had to check your site for a recipe. But you beat me to it. So thanks! Hope you’re well. – ds

    • S.E. Seoh

    I love the post! I’ll definitely put this in my menu for this year’s thanksgiving…it’ll be called the the “lebovitz pears” :) Thanks David!

    • rae

    i recently made an amazingly delicious pear pecan bread out of a ripe pear surplus. the recipe is dead simple & from the joy of cooking.

    • The Teacher Cooks

    Great post and lovely photos. I like the pear in the corner! Good idea with the parchment paper.

    • Laura Flowers

    Thank-you David. I have a ton of pears I really intended to eat, but now need to be quickly used.


    • Jennifer

    It’s kind of like cheating, but one of my favorite things to do with poached pears is to grease a casserole dish with butter, lay the poached pear halves in it, and cover with crushed gingersnap cookies. Bake for maybe 10 minutes at maybe 350 degrees. Serve with real whip cream and you have yourself a winner. Great for breakfast on a cold day.

    • zenchef

    Did the pear in the corner get punished? Il faut lui mettre un bonnet d’âne la prochaine fois! :)
    Beautiful technique, great explicit writing and fabulous photography, as always.

    • Kristin

    I made these today with star anise, a cinnamon stick and a few cloves. I used bosc pears. It was delicieux! Merci David!!

    • cheryl

    I love poached pears as well. I own a catering business and this is one of the desserts I serve. Pears are poached in a local white dessert wine made from scuppernong grapes. I then serve them warm in ginger glass cookies that have been formed into a “bowl” about 10 seconds after taking out of the oven. Place these on a plate napped with creme anglaise and dusted with cinnamon. You get soft and crunchy textures, warm and cold temps, spicy, sweet and slightly tart flavors all at once. What a great taste explosion!

    • Patti

    I made these this morning, hoping that my children might take to eating pears if they are cooked in sugar, and ate some with ice cream for dessert tonight. First bite I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Thanks David for such a simple and delicious recipe. I used bosc pears, cloves, vanilla bean, lemon and star anise.
    I adore your blog and love your food photography!

    • tracey gainforth

    After having them this week at an event, I wanted to make them at home this weekend. Thanks David..

    • tom | tall clover farm

    Your pear recommendations are spot on — and one thing I love to do with poached pears is crumble blue cheese, and chopped walnuts over a couple slices and spritz with a little sherry or champagne vinegar. Fresh pears also work beautifully with this simple recipe, especially Comice, which as you point out, is poorly suited for poaching.

    One of my favorite fresh eating pears is the Tyson Pear.

    • Bridget

    I love poaching pears in different teas. I have a lot of vegan friends, so this has kind of become my go to dessert when impromptu dinners happen. My favorite is Oolong tea, or raspberry zinger. Throw in some dried fruits at the end, sprinkle some lemon juice, and it’s no sugar needed.

    I also love tea flavored ice creams. But don’t actually like to drink tea. Go figure.

    • Jo

    You inspired me to revisit my own favourite poached pear recipe. Thought you might like to take a look.

    Kind regards

    • Noah

    How do you know when they’re done?

    • David

    Noah: Because pears are variable, although I gave poaching time, the recipe also advises.. “The best way to test if the pears are done is by poking one with a paring knife; if it meets no resistance, it’s done.”

    • Jennifer


    I just poached 8 pears this afternoon (thank you!). I decided to do them all since they were about to spoil. Now I have 16 pear halves, which is totally lovely, but I’m afraid it will take me longer than 3-5 days to eat them. Have you ever frozen the poached pears? I can completely submerge them in the poaching juice, so I think they would be okay, as long as they don’t disintegrate. Any thoughts?


    • David

    Jennifer & Abbey: I’ve not frozen them, but if you do, let us know if you have success.

    • Pamela Moffett

    Thanks for a wonderful article and recipe. Someone mentioned the Tyson pear – I have been looking all over for that particular variety. I live in New England – anyone know where I can find it?

    • Smita

    I made these today, David, and they are SO good! The spices are just right and the sweetness is perfect. The whole thing is pure genius. You are such a fabulous writer, teacher and recipe creator. Thank you!

    • Ric

    I used two Japanese Nashi pears with cinnamon and some Spanish cava. Served with vanilla ice cream as recommended. Is it possible to serve a dessert that take 10 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of cook to be any better? I don’t think so!

    • Ted

    Great recipie ideas. One of my favorites is pizza with mozzerella cheese, gorgonzolla cheese and poached pears. Add Italian spec after baking and a drizzel of olive oil. MMmmmm.

    • Nabeela

    Hi David,
    I made your poached pear recipe with beautiful baby seckel pears(therefore used 8 instead of the 4 you recommended for bosc). I also reduced the poaching liquid by half. I am thinking of having the poached pears with some pear pancakes tomorrow…I wonder how that will work. I am hoping the poaching liquid will act as syrup for the pancakes :)
    Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I found myself taking a lot of ‘taste-tests’ in between :)
    P.S: I just felt bad throwing out the spices after 15 minutes of poaching. Do you take out the spices when reducing the liquid to make sure the liquid doesn’t become too spicy?

    • Tom Batch

    Can pears (especially Bartletts) be used like apples to make a sauce? We have two Bartlett Pear trees that produce profusely and we love applesauce. We are trying to think of other uses for these delicious pears and thought of making “pearsauce.” Will it work? Thank you for your ideas.

    • David

    Tom: Yes, they can be made into applesauce. Make sure to cook them through so they’re soft enough to puree, and that they’re as ripe as possible when you start for the best flavor.

    • Crystal

    The cutting of the parchment paper seems a bit tedious to me. I weighed them down with a salad plate which happened to be just a bit smaller than the diameter of my saucepan. This technique is common in both Italian and Middle Eastern cooking. It didn’t crush the pears at all and kept them well submerged.

    Great recipe, though! I made it as an accompaniment to gingerbread and it was spot on.

    • Holly

    Thank you, very informative. I’ll now be having poached pears on my morning yoghurt!

    • Paige

    I am super excited because I live in (what we like to think of as) the pear capital of the world–Hood River, Oregon. It’s common to be offered a grocery bag of luscious pears when you meet up with friends. So tonight I poached my first batch of boscs. They looked so pretty peeled, and now they look lovely poached. I look forward to serving them to a wonderful group of ladies tomorrow night. This seems like the sort of thing one can become addicted to. Thanks for the great tips and photos.


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