• Prep Time
    30 minutes
  • Cook Time
    30 minutes (depends on ripeness of pears)
  • Serving
  • View

Bosc pears were first cultivated in Belgium.

I had never poached pears but the Bosc (pronounced Bawsk) pears at the grocery store last weekend were beautiful, and the idea of a sweet, decadent and ‘light’ dessert was in my head.  Of course, I googled “poached pears,” and found the following recipe.  Omg, it was so delicious, so easy and so beautiful.  The only change I made was to substitute lemon zest for orange zest.  Maybe I’ll try the orange next time but the lemon was perfect.   Also, my pears were headed toward ripeness but they were still firm having been on my counter about five days.  So, my poaching time was about 25 or 26 minutes. Always read more than one recipe before you cook something for the first time.  You’ll get a sense of what’s elemental to the dish, what’s important and what’s not.  Then, make it yourself, taste as you go and cook what you like to eat.

Heather Meldrom February/March 2020 Fine Cooking


  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 wide strips of zest from 1 large or 2 medium navel oranges
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 2 medium Bosc pears, ripe but firm, peeled, stems left intact (about 6 oz. each)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (about 3 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Edible gold leaf (optional)


  • In a 1-1/2-qt. pot with a lid, combine the wine, sugar, cinnamon, zest, and vanilla over medium heat. Bring to a rapid simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Slice a tiny piece from the bottom of each pear to make it level. Add the pears to the pot, laying them on their sides half submerged in the liquid. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for15 minutes. Turn the pears, cover, and simmer until mostly tender when pierced with a toothpick, an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, turn the pears, and let cool, covered, until room temperature, turning once more halfway through cooling time, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • When the pears have cooled, remove them from the wine. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean (if using), and zest.
  • Bring the wine to a boil over medium heat, and reduce to 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes. The wine should be glossy and syrupy.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the chocolate and heavy cream. Microwave in 10-second increments, stirring well between each, until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate with the cream in a small pot on the stovetop.)
  • Put each pear on a dessert plate or in a shallow bowl. Spoon about 1 tsp. of the wine sauce over the pears. Stir the remaining wine sauce into the chocolate sauce, and spoon some around the bottom of each pear or drizzle over each pear. Garnish with the gold leaf, if you like. Serve immediately.



Poached Pears

Chocolate Sauce



    Step 1

    Make the wine sauce/syrup. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine wine and sugar and 2 cinnamon sticks and the zest of about half a big glossy lemon.

    Step 2

    Peel the pears and leave the stems intact. Cut the bottoms so they will stand up. Put the pears in the sauce and simmer. They should be on their sides, half submerged in the sauce. After 15 minutes, turn the pears and simmer 15 more minutes until tender when you pierce with a toothpick. If your pears are very ripe, it may not take quite 30 minutes to poach them to the perfect tenderness.

    Step 3

    Cool the pears in the sauce. Do this in a glass or china serving bowl. A Portmeirion bowl that is oven safe would be great. Turn the pears every so often.

    Step 4

    Pour the sauce from the bowl back into a smaller saucepan than the pan you used to poach the pears. Simmer down until this is a syrup.

    Step 5

    You have the pears in a bowl with a little syrup over them, so pour most of the syrup into a small ramekin or measuring cup.

    Step 6

    Make the chocolate sauce by melting the semisweet chips and cream, stirring often, until very smooth.

    Step 7

    When you're ready to serve, place the pears on a pretty dessert plate. You can serve with the wine syrup and chocolate sauce. OR - you can pour some of the syrup into the chocolate sauce and drape it over the pears, or pool it around the bottom of the pears.

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