Sticky Red Wine Poached Pears

Poached pears still reign as one of the easiest, most divine desserts that tastes as luscious as they look.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 6
Calories 162 kcal
Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan


  • 6 ripe pears peeled
  • 1 lemon peels cut into thin strips
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 cups red wine I used a shiraz/syrah for a deeper colour and flavour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar muscavado sugar, or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 sticks star anise or cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves

To serve

  • mascarpone creme fraiche, greek yoghurt, ice cream or coconut yoghurt (dairy-free)


  • Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the pears so they can stand upright when it comes to plating/serving them.
  • Place lemon peel, lemon juice, red wine, water, sugar, vanilla, star anise and bay leaves in a medium-size pot and stir to combine.
  • Add pears (don’t worry if they fall on their sides), cover and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour or until the pears are tender and a gorgeous ruby-red colour. Swirl the pot around a few times during cooking so that the pears move around a bit and get covered in the red wine.
  • Carefully remove pears from the syrup and set aside.
  • Boil the syrup for 5-10 minutes until it is sticky and reduced.
  • Serve pears with a dollop of mascarpone, Greek yoghurt or ice cream, and a couple of tablespoons of syrup drizzled over the top.


Tip: the pears will keep in the syrup in a covered container for a couple of weeks. The syrup can be re-used to poach other fruit, or reduced down further to make a sticky dessert syrup to drizzle over ice cream.
What I love about poached pears is that the flavour base is really up to you – you can poach in juice or wine, and add any aromatics (flavours) you like, along with some sugar or honey to sweeten it up; just follow the ratio of liquid and sweetener below. For example, try orange juice and with honey and ginger. Serve with mascarpone, creme fraiche or greek yoghurt with vanilla mixed through,ice cream or coconut yoghurt for a great dairy free option.