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Poached Pears in Wine


The original recipe from a Dutch cookbook used blackcurrant liqueur, but this uses Marsala wine and either gin, vodka or whisky. Since the pears can be stored, we usually make a double batch for leftovers!

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  • 4 firm pears
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 50 ml vodka or gin or whisky
  • lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch or arrow root (Optional)


Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 60mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Peel the whole pears leaving stem s intact, if needed cut thin slice from bottoms so pears stand upright.

Stir together Marsala, whisky, vanilla, sugar and spices, including lemon zest. Add pears then bring mixture to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes or more until pears are tender, basting often. Remove pears and strain liquid. The liquid should be boiled slowly until reduced by half. If you want thicker syrup, wisk in the starch and boil until mixture is the correct consistency.

serve on lettuce leaf with gorgonzola or feta cheese with sauce as a salad or appetizer. I add caramelized spiced nuts.

Substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla for vanilla bean add just before pears are done.

Pears can be made ahead and refrigerated, then allowed to come to room temperature the day they will be served.



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