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Honey and Red Wine-Poached Pears

Oct 31, 2023 ● By Veronica Hinke
Honey and Red Wine-Poached Pears on a plate.

Photo credit Veronica Hinke

Nothing says fall like the warm notes of lightly spiced star anise, fragrant vanilla bean and toasty cinnamon and nutmeg. These Poached Pears are accented by all of those wonderful flavors of autumn. Poached in red wine, they are also a perfect way to celebrate the grape harvest season. They are lovely and satisfying as an elegant dessert or can be a light meal or snack on their own.

Pears can be a health-conscious option for a fall dessert. They provide vitamins A and K, and potassium, folate and pectin. Pears contain as much fiber as almost any other fruit, which is helpful for digestion and gut health. Poaching, a traditional cooking method that uses low heat to gently heat food submerged in a liquid (in this case, red wine), slowly transfers the flavors of the cooking liquid and spices to the ripe fruit.

Because pear trees are some of the longest-living of the fruit-bearing trees (100-plus years), pears are symbolic in many cultures of prosperity and immortality. At your next dinner party, celebrate the season with these light and refreshing show-stoppers.


Honey and Red Wine-Poached Pears

Yield: 4 servings

4 Bosc pears with stems

3-4 cups pinot noir wine (1 bottle)

2 Tbsp honey

½ Tbsp ground cinnamon

½ Tbsp ground nutmeg

5 star anise (whole)

2 cinnamon sticks

1 vanilla bean pod

2 cups non-dairy whipped cream (optional)

8-10 large mint leaves (optional)


Photo credit Veronica Hinke

Using a paring knife, carefully peel the pears all around, gently cutting the peels away as thinly as possible so that the pears retain their shape; leave the stems in place.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine the pinot noir, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and cinnamon sticks. Use the paring knife to slice the vanilla bean pod open lengthwise. With the same knife, scrape the seeds from the inside of the pod and add them to the Dutch oven.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the pears and simmer them until they become light pink all around, about 30 minutes. Turn the pears after 15 minutes to help ensure an even color all around.

Serve each pear standing upright on a dessert plate. Place a large mint leave at the bottom of the stem of each pear, poking it into the pear a bit to secure it. Serve with a dollop of non-dairy whipped cream.


Veronica Hinke is an author, speaker, journalist, coach and expert on early 20th-century drinking, dining and style. She is the author of The Last Night on the Titanic and Titanic: The Official Cookbook. Learn more at

How to Create the Perfect Fall Dessert: Honey and Red Wine-Poached Pears