Photo: Erin Kunkel; Styling: Nissa Quanstrom
Hands-on Time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Cool Time
1 Hour
Serves 8

The natural acidity of dry Sauvignon Blanc adds a tang that brightens up the sweet syrup on these pears.

How to Make It

Step 1

Put pears in a large saucepan or wide sauté pan with the granulated sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, wine, and 1/2 cup water. Simmer gently, covered, until pears are tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 2

Spoon out pears and set aside, loosely covered with plastic. Boil poaching liquid over medium heat until thick and reduced to about 1 cup, about 30 minutes (take care not to reduce the syrup too much). Chill until cool, at least 1 hour.

Step 3

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add pepitas, brown sugar, and cayenne. Cook, stirring often, until seeds are toasted and brown sugar has softened, about 3 minutes.

Step 4

Mix 1/4 cup of the syrup with mascarpone. Arrange pears on a serving platter. Dollop mascarpone mixture on or beside pears, drizzle syrup over pears and mascarpone, and sprinkle with pepitas mixture.

Step 5

Make ahead: Through step 3, 1 day ahead; chill pears airtight.

Step 6

Wine pairing: Ceja 2008 "Dulce Beso" Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. This sweet version of the wine the pears are poached in extends the flavor package. Like the pear dish, it has beautiful acidity to cut the sugar.

Ratings & Reviews

DaveChambers's Review

November 04, 2013
Knocked everyone's socks off. Whipped mascarpone enough to fluff it up a bit. Pepitas were already burnt after 1 minute on medium heat; 3 minutes on high is unimaginable. Great dessert.

piacere's Review

October 20, 2013
Simple and delicious. Used Bosc pears. Found it took a bit longer than recipe for pears to poach to tender stage. Made this twice with a change in pepita prep the second time. That is instead of using oil with the brown sugar and cayenne to toast the pepitas, used a non stick skillet. Preferred the taste, texture and appearance of the sugar glazed pepitas absent the oil. Addictive for snacking on their own or also great to top fall salads.