Poached Pears in Wine & Cardamom by Julie Ward

Poached Pears in Wine & Cardamom by Julie Ward

Poached Pears in wine and cardamom. What can I say? One of the most ancient fruits meets some of the most ancient and aromatic spices like cardamom and saffron. Cloaked in a syrup which will remain in your food memory for years to come. My only hint here is that you quietly save some of said syrup to pour on your porridge on the lovely lazy mornings that will follow the big day. That is a taste sensation and one you deserve. 

Serves 4  


  • 450ml dry white wine Cecilia Beretta Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie works well
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 12 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • ½ tbs saffron threads
  • 4 firm pears, peeled
  • Pinch sea salt
  • An indulgent optional extra (it is Christmas remember) is to include I tbsp of either Highbank Orchard’s Organic Irish Spirit liqueur or Highbank Orchards Organic Irish Orchard Liqueur Brandy


1. Combine all ingredients but the pears in a medium sized saucepan.
2. Bring the mixture to a light boil and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Slice a ¼ inch round off the bottom of the pear. This will allow it to stand when cooked and make it easier to peel. Peel the pears leaving the stalk on.
4. Add the pears to the cooking liquid making sure they are immersed in the liquid: add a little water if needed.
5. Place a disk of greaseproof paper over the surface of the cooking liquid and simmer until the pears are cooked through but not mushy. This should take about 15/20 minutes
6. Turn the pears occasionally so they cook evenly.
7. Check that the pears are ready by carefully inserting a knife into the flesh – it should go in smoothly when cooked.
8. Remove the pears placing one in each serving bowl.
9. Increase the heat and bring the poaching liquid to a rapid boil and reduce by half, or until thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes.
10. Add the Highbank Orchard Spirit or Brandy here if you are using.
11. You can serve now or refrigerate and reheat before serving.
12. Pour the syrup over pears and serve.

Serving suggestions:

Serve with crème fraiche, natural cows/sheep’s milk or soya yogurt.
Some dry fried almonds tossed in sea salt is also good.

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