Autumn, Winter, Breakfast, Sweet

Autumnal Spiced Poached Pears

The whole house will fill with the warming aroma coming from the cooking liquor in this recipe, and will make your home smell like Christmas is on the way.

I make mulled-wine poached pears every winter without fail, and use them to make so many festive dishes. This recipe is a lighter version using white wine that's ideal for autumn. It's more subtley spiced, too, but equally delicious.

I serve these pears as a dessert, with yoghurt for breakfast, or crowned upon a frangipane tart. If you want your pears standing on a plate, drizzled with syrup, cut a little off the bottom. You can also halve them and remove the cores, if you like.



4 pears, peeled

For the liquor

2 litres water

1 cup caster sugar

1 cup white wine

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

4-5 cloves

4-5 cardamom pods, bashed

1 vanilla pod, split, or 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Place all the liquor ingredients in a large pan, and bring to a simmer before dropping in your peeled pears. Poach on a gentle simmer until a knife can be inserted easily into the pears.
  2. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and set aside, then turn up the heat under your pan and reduce the liquor by about a third to a half.
  3. If you'd like a thicker liquor, add another quarter cup of sugar and reduce further, which will leave you with a sweeter, more syrupy liquid.
  4. Serve alone as a dessert with the syrup, with yoghurt or ice cream, or perched on a tart.

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