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Spicy Peppered Pears in Red Wine

Yield 4 servings
We used a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract in the poaching liquid. That's because extracts evaporate when heated, which means the pears won't pick up the vanilla flavor. The vanilla bean can be omitted.


  • 4 medium pears (2 pounds)
  • 1 (6-inch) vanilla bean, split lengthwise (optional)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese

Nutrition Information

  • calories 200
  • caloriesfromfat 12 %
  • fat 2.7 g
  • satfat 1.4 g
  • monofat 0.7 g
  • polyfat 0.2 g
  • protein 2.5 g
  • carbohydrate 44.4 g
  • fiber 4.3 g
  • cholesterol 5 mg
  • iron 1.2 mg
  • sodium 114 mg
  • calcium 71 mg

How to Make It

  1. Peel and core pears. Cut each pear in half lengthwise; set aside.

  2. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and place seeds and bean in a large nonaluminum skillet. Add sugar, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, and wine to skillet, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Arrange pears, cut sides down, in a single layer in skillet; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Turn pears over; cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes or until pears are tender. Remove pears with a slotted spoon. Place in a large shallow dish, and set aside.

  3. Bring wine mixture to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until reduced to 3/4 cup. Strain wine mixture through a sieve into the dish of pears; discard spices. Cover and chill 8 hours, turning pears occasionally. Remove pears with a slotted spoon, reserving wine mixture.

  4. Arrange 2 pears halves in each of 4 dessert compotes. Drizzle 3 tablespoons wine mixture over each serving, and top pears with 1 tablespoon crumbled cheese.