These Poached Pears with Cardamom are a light, delicious dessert of ripe pears poached in a spice-infused white wine syrup.
A few years back, I went to the Greenbrier Resort in southeastern West Virginia as the ‘event photographer’ for a conference. It’s been awhile since I was there, but what I remember– other than the loud wallpaper and cryptic underground bunker tour— was the extra fancy-schmancy, service à l’assiette clochée luncheon.
The food came covered in a metal dome, or cloche, which was whisked open with a flourish, and I felt like I was royalty. (Or rather, the hired help for the royalty, but it was okay, because I still got to eat.)
My trip to the Greenbrier was in the days before Instagram, and before I had a smartphone. I have zero photos of the food we ate, and I can’t actually remember WHAT we ate– except for the pears. The Greenbrier served me my first poached pear, and it was fantastic!
What I didn’t realize, at the time, was how incredibly EASY it is to poach pears! These Poached Pears with Cardamom are simple to prepare, ready in about 20 minutes, and make a delicious and light dessert for two.
Gathering Ingredients – Bosc Pears
To make Poached Pears with Cardamom, you’re (obviously) going to need pears– ideally, buy Bosc pears. Bosc pears are tall with long stems, and work especially well for poaching in liquid because they’re one of the crispest pears, so the water won’t make them get mushy.
Try to use pears that are ripe. I normally buy pears when they’re totally unripe (they’ll be hard like an apple), and let them ripen at room temperature for a few days (or sometimes even a week). Once they’ve started to soften, see if you can move the stem around a little bit by pushing on the fruit around the stem. If the pears are ripe, they’ll be slightly soft to the touch.
If your pears are ripe, but you aren’t ready to use them, stick them in the fridge and they’ll keep longer. Do not, however, put them in the fridge before they’re ripe, or they won’t ripen. If your pears get too soft and over-ripe, they’ll get mealy. No one wants that– don’t let it happen to you!
Making Poached Pears
This recipe is incredibly simple. All you have to do is pour the wine, water, cardamom pod, and a little honey into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and then lower the heat to take it down to a simmer. Poach the pears about 10 minutes, then add lemon juice and poach them about 5 more minutes. They’re finished when you can pierce them with a fork. Take your pears out of the liquid, and serve them with a little of the poaching liquid, and some more honey drizzled on top.
Enjoy your Poached Pears with Cardamom right away, or let them cool down and eat them cold! You could even serve them on a fancy platter, cover them with a metal cloche, and pretend you’re at a 5-star resort!
Poached Pears with Cardamom
- 2 ripe Bosc pears, peeled Optionally, you could cut the pears in half and core, but the presentation won't be as pretty.
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey (or sub molasses or sorghum), plus more to serve
- 1-2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 lemon or lime, juiced
Bring wine, water, honey, and cardamom to a boil in a medium saucepan (it should be big enough to hold all your pears, but small enough that you don't have to use extra wine to cover the pears).
Lower heat to medium and add pears. Simmer for 10 minutes and add lemon or lime juice. Simmer 5 more minutes. Pears are ready when they can be easily pierced with a fork.
Serve pears with a large spoonful or two of the poaching liquid, and add additional honey if desired.
*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal. Calorie calculations only include 1/2 cup of white wine, since most of the poaching liquid is not consumed.