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Healthy Dessert Alert: 5 Poached Pears Recipes

February 4, 2024
Courtesy of Use Your Noodles

Poached pears may seem like a fancy dessert you can only get at a restaurant, but they’re actually really easy to make. Get a serving of fruit and a sweet treat at the same time? Sign us up for that. 

Cooking everyday pears in wine, tea or other liquid infuses them with flavor and enhances their sweetness, and gives them a colorful hue as well. Plus, there are so many flavors to choose from: You can go for the tang of rich red wine or hibiscus tea, or spice things up with chai or cinnamon. 

Poached pears are an elegant dessert, of course – but it’s also worth making some extras; add slices to salads as a balance to crunchy seeds or nuts and tangy goat or blue cheese.

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What is poaching?

Poaching is a gentle cooking method in which you submerge an item in a liquid warmed to 160ºF to 180ºF. Depending on the ingredient you’re poaching, you can use water, tea, wine, broth, milk, butter, oil, or another liquid. You can also add spices, herbs, or other ingredients to the liquid to further flavor whatever you’re poaching. 

Benefits of poaching

Poaching infuses ingredients like pears – or savory items like eggs, chicken or fish – with flavor. Because you stick to a relatively low temperature and use a liquid, it’s easier to keep an eye on what you’re doing, so you don’t over- or undercook. Unless you poach in a fat like oil or butter, you can poach without any fat at all, if you’re watching fats or sticking to a certain plan around macros. 

Here are 5 takes on poached pears, so you can give this simple cooking method a try (and enjoy a healthy dessert, too).

1. Hibiscus Poached Pears with Vanilla and Pink Peppercorns

hibiscus poached pears

Courtesy of Use Your Noodles

These vibrant poached pears, cooked in hibiscus tea infused with vanilla and pink peppercorns, are not only beautiful, but also offer a good hit of vitamin C.  A simple drizzle of vanilla yogurt and some crunchy nuts rounds out the plate.

Try this recipe from Use Your Noodles

2. Cider Poached Pears

Cider poached pears

Courtesy of I Heart Eating

A mix of apple cider and warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves makes these pears extra cozy (and will give your kitchen the most enticing aroma). Serve these as is or with some vanilla ice cream – or use them to top pancakes or waffles.

Try this recipe from I Heart Eating

3. Spiced Poached Pears

Spiced poached pears

Courtesy of Quite Good Food

You know that gorgeous golden hue comes from anti-inflammatory turmeric, which adds depth and complexity to this sophisticated spin on poached pears. Ginger, honey, and star anise also flavor the poaching liquid. Serve these warm or cold with yogurt or ice cream, and don’t forget to drizzle a little of the colorful poaching liquid on top.

Try this recipe from Quite Good Food

4. Chai Poached Pears with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Chai poached pears

Courtesy of Oh My Veggies

Just add chai tea bags to water  and you’ve got a spice-infused poaching liquid that really sets the pears’ sweetness. Extras would be delicious tossed into a salad with roasted delicata squash, massaged kale, soft goat cheese, and chopped toasted pistachios.

Try this recipe from Oh My Veggies

5. Red Wine Poached Pears

Red wine poached pears

Courtesy of The Flavor Bender

Red wine is a classic poaching liquid for pears, running them through with robust flavor and beautiful color. Try coconut sugar or honey in place of some or all of the white sugar in this recipe. Cinnamon and cloves add warmth and depth, too.

Try this recipe from The Flavor Bender

Read next: 6 Mediterranean Diet Dessert Recipes for a Sweet Tooth

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