Vanilla Poached Pears

Total Time:
2 hr 5 min
10 min
1 hr
55 min

4 servings

  • 1 (750-ml) bottle white wine, Riesling or Viognier
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 ounces vanilla sugar, approximately 3/4 cup
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 4 firm Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled leaving the stem intact

Place the white wine, water, sugar and vanilla bean and pulp into a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Core the pears from the bottom. Decrease the heat to medium low and place the pears into the liquid, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the pears are tender but not falling apart. Maintain a gentle simmer. Remove the pears to a serving dish, standing them upright, and place in the refrigerator.

Remove the vanilla bean from the saucepan, increase the heat to high and reduce the syrup to approximately 1 cup of liquid, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Do not allow the syrup to turn brown. Place the syrup in a heatproof container and place in the refrigerator until cool, approximately 1 hour.

Remove the pears from the refrigerator, spoon the sauce over the pears and serve.

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    24 Reviews
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    The perfect ending to a rich meal! This one is definitely a keeper! All my guests loved these pears.
    Absolutely divine! I used a nice bottle of German Riesling Kabinett and the resulting syrup was phenomenal..perfect amount of acid to balance the sweetness. I didn't have vanilla sugar but the syrup and pears had nice vanilla flavor from the vanilla bean. I served with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of streusel topping leftover from a recently made apple crumble.
    This was very, very good. I followed the directions except for 2 things: didn't have vanilla sugar, so I just used white sugar plus 1 teaspoon or less of vanilla extract.....and then I added 1 more cup of water so the liquid covered more of the pears while poaching. Spun the pears around a couple of times while poaching so they didn't brown on top. Due to the added water, I didn't reduce as long as I was scared to get it brown, per the directions.....ended up, it didn't matter how thin it was. Used some of the syrup in the bowls as the picture shows and it was SO delicious. Everyone drank the syrup out of the bowl! So fun! Very good, will make it again.
    These were quite good but I thought they were too sweet. The 3 ladies I served them to did not agree with me but next time I will cut back on the sugar a little. I will also cook the pears a little longer. My fault - I thought they were done enough. The sauce reduced down very nicely.
    I was kind of hesitant making this one. I've killed sugar/wine sauces in the past. But I was really happy that I pulled this one off. And why wouldn't I? This man is a genius. He can get me to cook anything comfortably. This one is so simple and extra tasty. I love pears but never know what to do with them. Tada this recipe is perfect!! 
    I have to admit I did tweak it a little based on what I needed/had. I used a 3qt. pan and used 6 pears. And it came out delectable.  
    Next time I think I can't make something by this man ill just kick myself and go for it cause he never fails to deliver.
    Easy and delicious. My pears were were perfectly ripe so I just reduced poaching time Another hit Elton. You never dissapoint me.
    It's Alton, dude!
    Delicious -- and so easy! I served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Everybody raved about it.
    We tried this recipe for the first time about a week ago, and we've already made it again since then. It has already become one of my favorite dessert recipes.
    Fabulous! A wonderful light dessert to have after a very rich meal. Festive, sophisticated, absolutely delicious, and not too rich. Will make again.
    I am the odd man out on this one. I liked the recipe but didn't love it. Easy to make. Served this with vanilla ice cream and the reviews were just "ok" or "good". Sorry, Alton!
    So delicious! I usually like to do things that are less time consuming but it's so worth it! Best way EVER to eat a pear!! Kudos to Alton Brown & thanks a million!! This is definitely something that will stay in my family for years to come!
    Had my first dinner party two nights ago, this was a huge hit. Im glad that I found like minded people that enjoy good, can do at home cooking. This is an A recipe.
    I just made these tonight as a quick dessert with ingredients I had at home. I reduced the liquid and vanilla sugar a bit since I only had three pears, but the results were delicious! The pears were sweet, but not overpowering, and a had a nice texture. I think they would go well with vanilla ice cream, but they are equally nice on their own.
    These pears were amazing - the sauce is wonderful. My husband was grinning like a little boy.
    I made this dish for a potluck and it amazing. Folks loved it!. I made a few changes to enhance the presentation.... After cooking the pears in the sauce, I let them cool and cut them in half, poured the reduction over them and baked them a bit longer. I served the pears with candied pecans and bourbon vanilla whipped cream.
     The presentation was beautiful and the flavors were wonderful.
     This will be a regular addition to any fall/winter party.
    I made this dessert for some ladies who are all watching their fat intake and it was absolutely wonderful! I reduced the poaching liquid and then added a little corn starch to thicken it. The Pears I wedged into quarters and topped with frozen vanilla yogurt and then the sauce. It has become a favorite around here!
    We made this at home first, then as a Christmas gift for friends. Even the people who said they weren't fruit eaters LOVED it.
    My fiance made this recipe for Thanksgiving, and it received high praise. Easy to prepare, it provides a sophisticated and elegant presentation. The decadent vanilla flavor and aroma would make this a good choice for date nights as well.
    I had trouble getting the sauce to the right thickness, but it was all still delicious.
    I have a dear friend who cannot eat any gluten or dairy. It's always a challenge to come up with dessert when she joins me for dinner. I made these delicious pears (Whole Foods has vanilla sugar) and served it with dairy-free whipped topping (French Vanilla Cool Whip, I believe). The results looked very fancy and elegant, yet couldn't have been easier!
    This is a great recipe! It was so easy to make and everyone enjoyed it!
    This recipe really couldn't be easier and your guests will go nuts for it. Doesn't really need the vanilla sugar; if you use a high-quality vanilla bean there's plenty of vanilla flavor. I made this with bosc pears and Riesling for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit -- several people wanted the recipe. Makes a nice, light dessert for any occasion, but is also great when you need something wheat-free and/or dairy free.
    I have never tried any of Alton's recipes without getting great results. This recipe was very easy and turned out delicious. I cut the pears like a fan and served them with vanilla ice cream drizzled with the syrup.
    i not experienced at cooking, nor have i ever used wine in cooking anything. but this really wasn't hard at all. and the ending result was an amazing dessert! it was sweet, with hint of vanilla. once you cook all the alcohol out the wine adds a delcious flavor to the sauce. it was great! the only hard part was coring the pears, they are hard to core, and using a drill like Alton did on t.v doesn't fit the usual method. so we ended up cuting them in half , and coring them that way, i served them in little sundae dishes, and drizzled the sauce on top! the family thought it was diffantely 5 stars!
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    Vanilla Poached Pears

    Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen