Poached pears are an easy, seasonal dessert that can be customized to your taste. Top these softened fruits with a spiced mascarpone filling and drizzle with caramel.
By Danelle MC
For everyday eating, ripe, juicy pears are best. When testing a pear’s ripeness, you should apply gentle pressure to the narrow “neck” of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe. However, slightly under-ripe pears are best for poaching, and poached pears are one of those easy yet elegant desserts that are sure to impress your family and friends.
To poach pears, you simply peel and core them, and then simmer them in liquid until they’re tender. Traditionally, pears are poached in a wine and sugar mixture, but there is plenty of room for creativity when it comes to this classic pear dessert. You can even use things like coconut milk! For this recipe I poached my pears in water and maple syrup and infused my liquid with cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.
Whether you leave the pears whole or cut them in half is really a matter of personal preference. I usually cut mine in half because I like to add toppings like ice cream, whipped cream, or in this case, a delicious maple and cinnamon mascarpone cream. But a whole poached pear standing on a plate is the ultimate in dessert presentation. I topped these pears with a prepared, salted caramel sauce, but reducing your poaching liquid is also a great way to create a delicious sauce or glaze for your pears.
- 3 firm Bartlett USA Pears, peeled, halved and cored
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Caramel sauce, for drizzling
- In a large saucepan combine water, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- Add pears and bring to simmer. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, turning pears once half-way through cooking, until pears are just tender when pierced with a fork.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a 9-inch baking dish. Pour poaching liquid over top. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
- Meanwhile, mix mascarpone cheese with powdered sugar until smooth.
- Gradually add maple syrup until mascarpone reaches desired flavor and consistency. Stir in cinnamon. Chill mascarpone until ready to use, returning it to room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove pears from poaching liquid and arrange one or two pears on individual serving plates, cut side up.
- Place a generous dollop of the maple mascarpone in the center of each pear. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve.
Danelle combines her love of cooking and photography at her food blog, Let's Dish. A friend once described her culinary creations as “uptown foodie meets real life,” which sums up her cooking philosophy perfectly. When she's not cooking or baking , you'll often find her behind the lens of her camera photographing the beautiful Colorado outdoors, or visiting her local farmers' market. She has been sharing recipes at Let's Dish since 2009.