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Poached Pears in Muscat Wine

Photo: Thomas J. Story
Total time 1 hr, 45 mins

Serves 12

Cooking the pears in delicately floral Muscat wine makes for a light, elegant dessert--and leaves plenty of room for friends' pies, says Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California.


  • 6 firm Bosc pears (3 to 4 lbs. total)
  • 1 bottle (750 ml.) Muscat dessert wine, such as Electra
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise
  • 3 containers (8 oz. each) crème fraîche
  • Rose geranium or mint leaves

Nutrition Information

  • calories 394
  • caloriesfromfat 51 %
  • protein 2.6 g
  • fat 22 g
  • satfat 14 g
  • carbohydrate 46 g
  • fiber 3.8 g
  • sodium 7.1 mg
  • cholesterol 51 mg

How to Make It

  1. Peel pears, halve lengthwise (leaving stems on half of pieces), and core.

  2. Put pears in a 5- to 6-qt. pot. Add wine and sugar. Scrape seeds from vanilla pod into pot, then add pod and water to barely cover pears (3 to 4 1/2 cups).

  3. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat; then reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until pears are as soft as butter when pierced with a knife, 30 minutes.

  4. With a slotted spoon, transfer pears from pot to a large, wide bowl. Boil syrup, uncovered, over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 cups, 30 to 35 minutes; reduce heat if pan starts to scorch. Pour syrup over pears.

  5. Spoon 1/4 cup crème fraîche into each dessert bowl and add a pear half to each. Stir syrup and drizzle over pears. Tuck in rose geranium leaves.

  6. Make ahead: Through step 4, up to 1 day, chilled airtight.