Spice House Pears

Ripe orchard fruit pair elegantly with cinnamon, saffron, and vanilla in this aromatic riff on a classic dessert.

  • Serves

    serves 6


By SAVEUR Editors

Published on January 19, 2007

These classic poached pears make an elegant fall or winter dessert. To ensure a clear and potent poaching liquid, be sure to use fresh whole spices rather than powdered; if you're unable to source whole spices locally, look to Penzys for a comprehensive online selection. Any leftover liquid may be saved in the fridge and used to sweeten cocktails or to brush over simple cakes.


  • 6 pears, peeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled and juiced, reserve both
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 12 cups sugar
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 14 tsp. saffron threads


Step 1

Place pears in lemon water to prevent discoloring.

Step 2

Combine wine, 1 cup water, sugar, star anise, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and lemon peel in a large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, add pears, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pears and cool.

Step 3

Raise the heat and bring poaching syrup to slow boil, crumble in saffron, and reduce liquid to 3 cups.

Step 4

Cool the syrup, return the poached pears, and serve.

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