Poached Pears served with a smooth Honey Mascarpone Cream is an elegant holiday dessert that looks so much more complicated than it actually is – but I promise you that it is easy! Your guests will think you spent hours on this dessert when in reality it was less than 30 minutes!
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The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required as well as understand the steps and timings involved.
The Christmas holiday season is always about eating, drinking, and be merry, and it can be quite easy to over indulge!
Of course, many of us love decadent desserts, but if you want to serve something a little lighter then why not make these wine-poached pears?
Poached pears are a classic, simple dessert and are made by cooking them in syrup that’s been flavored with spices and other aromatics.
In this recipe, the syrup is made with sweet white wine, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. You could adjust the spices to your personal tastes if you like.
Once cooked and cooled slightly they are served with a mascarpone cream that’s been flavored with orange zest, honey, and vanilla. Then the final flourish is a dusting of ground cinnamon.
The pears poach quite quickly – just 30 minutes – and can be made in advance too. Store them in the cooking liquor in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
You may have some of the ingredients for this recipe in your kitchen already – the full list with measurements is found in the recipe card.
For your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients and equipment needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon if available online.
- Riesling – or other sweet white wine
- Honey – buy local honey if you can
- Whole Cinnamon Sticks
- Whole Cloves
- Whole Star Anise
- Pears – see below for the best kind to use for poaching
- Ground Cinnamon – for dusting
- Mascarpone Cheese – an Italian soft cheese made from cream and resembling cream cheese. It can be used in sweet dishes such as this recipe, or tiramisu, or cheesecakes; it can also be used in savory dishes like pasta sauces.
- Half and Half – a blend of whole milk and light cream. If not available in your area, you can use single cream or half cream
- Pure Vanilla Extract – always buy the best you can afford as it does make a flavor difference
- Orange Zest
This recipe uses American cups. They’re a handy piece of kitchen equipment to have along with a kitchen food scale. Having both in your kitchen means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog as I use both cups and weighted measures.
What Are the Best Pears to Use for Poaching?
The key to success with this recipe is to choose a naturally firm pear variety, such as Anjou, Comice, Williams, or Bartlett.
Softer pear varieties and/or overly ripe specimens have a tendency to turn to mush while cooking, so it pays to choose carefully while shopping.
You also want to use pears that are not quite ripe for this dish.
More Recipes Using Fresh Fruit
Of course the hero ingredient is fresh pears, but I don’t have any other pear recipes on my blog. Instead, here are some recipes using fresh fruits for you to look at next:
- Cranberry, Almond & Orange Fruit Loaf
- Baked Cinnamon Apple Crisp
- Homemade Apple Pie a la Mode (with No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream!)
More Dessert Recipes
Looking for more dessert inspo? Check these recipes out next:
- Yummy Pumpkin Mousse Recipe with Maple Whipped Cream Topping
- Mini Berry Pavlovas
- Apple Pie Layer Cake with Cinnamon Frosting & Walnut Crumble Topping
How Do I Make Poached Pears?
Just check out the recipe card below with full ingredients, and instructions. You can print the card out too (don’t worry, the pics don’t print to save your ink!).
- 3 cups Riesling or other sweet white wine
- ⅓ cup honey
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp whole cloves
- 3 whole star anise
- 6 firm pears, peeled
- Dash ground cinnamon, for garnish
For the Honey Mascarpone Cream
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3 Tbsp half & half (single cream)
- 3 Tbsp runny honey
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp orange zest
- Combine wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise in a large skillet with high sides. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the honey is melted and the spices become fragrant. Approximately 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, halve the pears and carefully remove the seeds with the tip of a potato peeler or small spoon.
- Carefully add the pears to the simmering poaching liquid. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Do not overcook.
- While the pears are poaching, place the softened mascarpone cheese and half & half in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until light and airy. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a hand-held mixer to blend).
- Add the honey, vanilla extract, and orange zest and whip until combined. Place in the fridge to chill before serving.
- Remove pears from heat and cool slightly. Serve immediately with a spoonful of the honey mascarpone cream and a dash of cinnamon. Top with a drizzle of the poaching liquid, if desired. Enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 490Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 7gSugar: 43gProtein: 3g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Meal!
You’ve made the desserts, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Appetizer: Oven-Roasted Fall Harvest Soup with Butternut Squash & Apples
- Main Dish: Oven-Roasted Apple & Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash
- Side Dish: Creamy Cauliflower Cheese Casserole with Bacon
- Beverage: Sparkling Apple Ginger Punch – A Refreshing Fall Mocktail!
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too!