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Poached Pears in Red Wine with Vanilla Custard Sauce - A delicious and elegant recipe that is perfect for a Valentine's dinner or other very special occasion!

Today’s recipe for Poached Pears in Red Wine with Vanilla Custard Sauce is a wonderful dessert option when you’re preparing a very special meal!  Not only is this dessert rich and delicious – but it’s also quite impressive and elegant, and sure to impress that special Valentine in your life!

If you’ve never had poached pears in red wine – you are in for a real treat!  Poaching pears makes them so tender you can eat them with a spoon, and the red wine adds both flavor and a gorgeous color!  Next the red wine is reduced down to a thick sweet syrup, then paired with a wonderful vanilla custard sauce that is the perfect creamy, sweet counterpart to both the red wine reduction and the pears!

Poached Pears in Red Wine with Vanilla Custard Sauce - A delicious and elegant recipe that is perfect for a Valentine's dinner or other very special occasion!

These poached pears in red wine with vanilla custard sauce can be served as we show – on a long, flat platter for an impressive presentation, or in individual serving plates or bowls.  Simply spoon some of the wine reduction onto the bottom of the plate and add drops of the vanilla custard sauce.  We used a toothpick to make decorative swirls for a beautiful effect.  Place the pears on the plate and serve with any extra red wine reduction as well as more vanilla custard sauce on the side.

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Poached Pears in Red Wine with Vanilla Custard Sauce - A Family Feast

Poached Pears in Red Wine with Vanilla Custard Sauce

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • Vanilla Custard Sauce (see recipe here)
  • 4 Bosc pears, stems intact
  • 1 bottle Burgundy or Merlot
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Rind of one lemon


  1. Prepare the vanilla custard sauce ahead of time to allow it to cool before serving.
  2. Cut a small amount from the ridges at the bottom of each pear so the end is flat and the pears will stand upright. With a small paring knife, remove the core from the bottom of each pear by turning the knife around and around until you have whittled out the core. Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact.
  3. In a 4-quart pot, pour in the bottle of wine. Fill the wine bottle with water and then add the water to the pot with the wine so you have a 50/50 mix of wine and water. Add sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon rind and bring to a boil.
  4. Gently add pears and cover with a dish or pan so they stay submerged under the liquid.
  5. Gently boil for 40 minutes or until tender. Use a small skewer or tooth pick to see if they are done.
  6. Remove pears to a plate with a slotted spoon, cover and refrigerate.
  7. Bring the liquid back to a boil and simmer for 50-60 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to one cup. The finished wine sauce will thicken as it reduces. Let the sauce cool slightly.
  8. To serve, spoon wine sauce onto the bottom of a small flat dish or bowl, add drops of vanilla custard sauce to the wine sauce (if you’d like, use a toothpick and make decorative swirls). Place a pear in the center of the dish and serve.

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  • Linda wrote:

    This recipe looks so very elegant! I am planning to try it for Valentine’s Day. I need to make it ahead of time. Is it ok to refrigerate the wine sauce or should it be at room temperature?
    What is the purpose of the wine bottle in the pot?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Linda – The sauce should be served at room temperature – but it will be fine if you make it ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to serve it. And – thanks for asking the question – I think we need to clarify that step in the recipe. We meant that you should add the water to the pot (using the wine bottle as the measure) – and as we’ve written it, I can totally see that it might be confusing! I will correct that step right away! Thanks for writing to us and so sorry for the confusion! Martha

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen wrote:

    Gorgeous, Martha!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks so much Stacy!

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