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.
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 actually, the hired help for the royalty, but it was okay, because I still got to eat the fancy food.
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.
What is Poaching? What Is a Poached Pear?
What Kind of Pear Should I Use for Poaching?
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.
How Do I Know When My Pears 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, you’ll be able 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.
Warning: Do not put unripe pears in the fridge– they won’t ripen.
How to Make 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.
Let the pears simmer for a few minutes, then add lemon juice and poach them a little more. They’re finished when you can pierce them with a fork. Use the poaching liquid as a sauce, and serve this fancy dessert hot or 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!
Want more FRUIT DESSERTS? Try these:
- Flognarde: Berry Clafoutis
- Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberry Rhubarb Topping
- Granita Recipe with Berries + Whipped Ricotta
Want more FANCY DESSERTS? Try these:
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
- ¼ 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.
- Make Ahead / Leftovers:Store pears in poaching liquid in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Rewarm in liquid before serving if desired.