Elegant and festive, these deep ruby red beauties are the perfect seasonal dessert to have on hand, especially when you’re craving lighter fare.

The pears are prepped and then poached in a sumptuous red wine elixir.

I just love the intoxicating aroma of Beaujolais and warm spices that permeate the house while the pears are poaching.

I like to serve Beaujolais poached pears with a Crème Anglaise (vanilla sauce) and crisp cookies such as tuiles or meringues.

The recipe for Crème Anglaise follows.  If you would like my recipes for tuiles and/or meringues, email me at puppy513@aol.com.  Enjoy the glories of autumn!


  • 3 or 4 ripe but firm pears*
  • 2 cups Beaujolais**
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • zest of navel orange
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • mint leaves (optional garnish)
  • Crème Anglaise (optional, recipe follows)

Cut pears in half lengthwise, making sure to leave the stems intact. Peel the pears. Scoop out the cores with a small spoon or melon baller.  Place prepped pear halves into a large bowl filled with acidulated water (juice of ½  lemon per quart of water).

Combine the Beaujolais, water, sugar, vanilla bean, orange and lemon zest, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and nutmeg, and pour into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Strain the pears out of the acidulated water, then add to the simmering wine syrup and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until just tender.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, then strain the pears, reserving the poaching liquid.  At this point you can either discard the poaching spices or save them to garnish the pears when serving.

Replace the wine syrup/poaching liquid into the saucepan and simmer until it is reduced by ½.  It will be thick and syrupy and should coat the back of a spoon.

Allow pears and syrup to cool, place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, spoon some of the wine syrup on a dessert plate and center a pear on top.  Garnish with mint leaves.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

For a more dramatic presentation, make a Crème Anglaise (vanilla sauce). Before placing the pear on the dessert plate, fill half the plate with Crème Anglaise, and the other half with the wine syrup—each forming a semicircle and meeting in the middle of the plate, as shown in the photo.

Crème Anglaise

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ vanilla bean, split
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Pour cream into a medium saucepan.  Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the cream; add the bean to the cream.  Heat the cream and vanilla until bubbles form around the edges.

While the cream is heating, place the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk until well combined.

To temper the egg yolk mixture, slowly pour about ½ of the hot cream into the eggs whisking continuously.  Gradually add the yolk mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly.  Cook the custard until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  The temperature of the custard should read about 185 degrees.  Do not boil.

Immediately pour the custard through a fine sieve.  Remove the vanilla bean. Cool the custard, then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.


* Bosc, Red Bartlett or Anjou pears are good for poaching.  Try to buy them several days in advance so they can ripen a bit before cooking.

** Feel free to use other seasonal red wines such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chianti, etc.