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Poached Pears with Riesling

Wine-poached pears make a sumptuous, seasonal dessert in this recipe from "Martha's Entertaining."

  • servings: 12




  • 12 ripe, firm pears
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry or off-dry Riesling
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • Chocolate Leaves, for garnish (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Peel pears, leaving stems attached, then core them from the bottom, using a small melon baller to scoop out seeds. Cut a round of parchment to fit inside a large pot (pot should be wide enough to hold the pears in one layer). Place pears in pot along with wine, brown sugar, and enough water to just cover pears (4 to 6 cups). Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan, then drop in pod. Cover with parchment round.

  2. Step 2

    Bring to a boil, then reduce heat; simmer, turning pears occasionally, to coat with liquid, until very tender but not falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on ripeness and size of pears. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pears to a large bowl. Remove and discard vanilla bean pod. Cover bowl with the parchment round (or cut a new one to fit).

  3. Step 3

    Bring poaching liquid to a boil and cook until reduced to a thin syrup consistency, about 10 minutes. Pour syrup over pears; let cool completely. Refrigerate, covered with parchment, until cool. Serve pears in shallow bowls or cups; tuck a chocolate mint leaf into stem end of each one, if desired.

The Martha Stewart Show, October 2011