Red-Wine Poached Pears with Cinnamon and Vanilla (Poires Pochées au Vin et Épices)

This two-step poached pear recipe involves first marinating the pears overnight in a spiced wine mixture, then poaching in the wine. The pale, smooth pears turn deep maroon, and have vanilla and cinnamon accents. Choose pears with their stems intact for the most eye-catching presentation.

Excerpted from VAN GOGH'S TABLE: AT THE AUBERGE RAVOUX by Alexandra Leaf and Fred Leeman (Artisan Books). Copyright 2001

Recipe Author:
Christophe Bony
Van Gogh's Table
Photography by Frédéric Lebain
Reproduced courtesy of Artisan Publishing & Dominique-Charles Janssens


Category:  Desserts  - 


For 6 people


  • 6 medium to large Bartlett (Williams) pears, peeled, the core removed by cutting through the blossom end
  • 2 to 20.5 bottles (75 ml) red table wine
  • 2 tbs. crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise, plus extra for decoration
  • 2 cups (170 g) sugar

Red-Wine Poached Pears with Cinnamon and Vanilla (Poires Pochées au Vin et Épices) Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients except the sugar in a deep container so the pears are completely submerged in the wine. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer the pears to a large pot; pour in the wine mixture. Add the sugar and stir gently. Bring to a slow boil and simmer until the pears are tender but still firm when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will vary from 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the ripeness of the pears. From time to time, spoon the wine mixture over the pears while they cook. Carefully transfer the pears to a dish and allow to cool.
  2. Serve chilled or at room temperature with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the poaching liquid spooned over each. Decorate each dessert plate with a star anise, if desired.