Grandma Elsie's Elegant Poached Pears with Spiced Red-Wine Syrup

Grandma Elsie’s Elegant Poached Pears with Spiced Red‑Wine Syrup

Time: 1 hour 30 minutes. Serves Four to Six.



  1. 2 1/2 cups dry red wine (a good* Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel)
  2. 3/4 cup organic brown sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon Grandma Elsie’s Famous Spices
  4. Zest of 1 orange
  5. 1 orange, juiced
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  8. 2 cloves
  9. 4 firm, ripe pears (Bosc are preferred, though Conference and Anjou also work well)


  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine wine, brown sugar, Grandma Elsie’s Famous Spices, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves. While liquid is simmering, carefully peel pears leaving stem intact. Slice ½ inch off the bottom of each pear to create a flat bottom. Gently place pears in poaching liquid, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to ensure even color. Check to make sure pears are cooked tender but not mushy. (Insert the tip of a paring knife into the pear bottom. It should go in and come out easily with no resistance.) Use a slotted spoon to place pears upright on a serving plate or in individual bowls. Chill at least three hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. Increase the heat of poaching liquid to high and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a whisk until the syrup thickens. Remove from heat and chill until ready to serve. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

To Serve:

  1. Bring pears and syrup to room temperature or warm slightly. Serve pear with scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle syrup over pear and ice cream.

* If you can’t find Santini organic, you can use Eagle or Borden. If you can’t find Dagoba, you can use any bittersweet baking chocolate with 65% or higher cacao.

From Grandma Elsie’s West Coast Test Kitchen
Brad Whitworth and Peg Champion