Chestnut Honey Pears

Chestnut Honey Pears
This remarkable sweet deserves a luscious, golden dessert wine. The comice pears called for in this preparation are widely available in the winter.Thomas Payne
Chestnut Honey Pears
The comice pears called for in this preparation are widely available in the winter.
serves 4
55 minutes


2 cups dry white wine
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 long strips orange zest
4 firm but ripe comice pears, peeled, halved, and cored
2 tbsp. chestnut honey
5 sprigs thyme
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cubed
Kosher salt
1 cup vanilla ice cream


Combine 6 cups water, wine, sugar, vanilla bean, and orange zest in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add pears and poach until tender, 5–10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, allowing pears to cool in poaching liquid. When cool, transfer pears to a plate. Pat dry with paper towels. Reserve poaching liquid and vanilla bean.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until very warm, then add honey. Honey will bubble and foam, thinning out to coat bottom of the skillet, about 1 minute. Place 4 pear halves, cut-side down, in hot honey. Cook pears until caramelized, shaking skillet to prevent burning, about 6–8 minutes. Remove pears from skillet and set aside.
Add 1 cup poaching liquid, vanilla bean, and 1 sprig thyme to same skillet. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, whisk in butter, one cube at a time, then add a pinch of salt. Remove and discard vanilla bean and thyme and set sauce aside.
To serve, coarsely chop remaining 4 uncaramelized poached pear halves and divide between four plates. Place 1 caramelized pear half in center of each plate, then spoon sauce over pears. Add a small scoop of ice cream to each plate and garnish with remaining 4 sprigs of thyme.