When we first began Dirty Gourmet, we weren’t just thinking about any recipe that would work well outdoors. We were thinking gourmet. The Butternut Pecan Cakes with Honey Apples and Mascarpone came out in the first camping trip, and these Red Wine Poached Pears were created on our second. It was on our trip to Portal Forebay in the Sierras last fall, and it was cold and icy out the night we made them. We had Skillet Lasagna for dinner and warm syrupy pears for dessert around the campfire.
Seasons have such an effect on our lives, especially when we spend a good amount of time outdoors. You get to noticing the exciting parts of each and looking forward to them. The same thing is true for seasonal foods. When Autumn is here, we all get excited about the changing leaves, the first snow in the mountains, and seasonal festive foods like turkey and pears and cookies. It is a lot of fun for us to bring all these fleeting enjoyments together to really appreciate what we have for a temporary time each year.
We spent our Thanksgiving at home this year, but that didn’t take the outdoors away from us. The dads set up a fire pit in the backyard, and it continued to burn day and night the entire weekend. At any time, if you wanted to go outside, it would be there, and there would be someone sitting there tending it waiting for a little conversation. It was such a treat, and added a whole new level of warmth and companionship to our holiday event.
If you’re planning to spend any of the holiday time outside with family or friends, this dessert is a wonderful choice. I think of poached pears as a dessert that usually takes all day to make, but it doesn’t have to with this recipe. Poaching in red wine stains the pears with a deep red color, with a flavor that is bold enough to shine through after only a half hour or so of poaching. The recipe can take the place of a warm pie, and you get to drink mulled wine with it. It’s quite fancy, so it would work for a holiday party, but it’s easy and quick enough to just make any chilly night under the stars.
Red Wine Poached Pears
Prep Time / Cook Time/
Activity GuideBike Touring, Car Camping
- 4 firm pears
- 1 bottle red wine
- 3 cups water
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup sugar
- Cutting board
- Large pot
- Wine opener
Note: Traveling with pears can be a bit tricky, especially when they’re very soft. Use firmer pears and don’t worry about any minor bruising since you’ll be peeling the skin off anyways.
- Peel the pears, but leave them whole and keep the stems on them. Slice a small amount of the base off if you’d like them to sit up straight up when served.
- Pour the wine, water, sugar, and spices into a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Gently add the pears to the poaching liquid. Let the liquid heat and slowly simmer for about 30 minutes or until until pears are deep red in color.
- Remove the pears from the poaching liquid.
- You can serve the red wine poached pears immediately along with a glass of the poaching liquid, which is in essence a mulled wine. Alternatively, you can boil the liquid until it is thick and syrupy and drizzle over the poached pears.