Poached Pears with Vanilla and Anise


Serve this classy dessert warm or cool, alone or with vanilla ice cream.

4 ripe but firm white pears (Bosc, Bartlett, Warren, Anjou) 

4 cups water  

1/3 cup sugar  

4-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced 

2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract or paste 

1 tsp whole cloves

5 star anise pods

1 cinnamon stick

lemon juice as needed

whole star anise and vanilla bean pods for garnish 


  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact and immediately submerge them in a bowl with water and lemon juice to prevent browning.
  2. Add water, sugar and vanilla to a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil.  Stir until sugar dissolves. 
  3. Break cinnamon sticks and anise pods in half, add all spices (cloves, anise, cinnamon, ginger) to pot and reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Add pears to pot, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the pears can be pierced with a fork.
  5. Remove pears from heat and store in refrigerator for no less than 2 hours (the longer the pears remain in the liquid, the stronger the flavor will be). 
  6. Garnish with vanilla bean pods and whole star anise to serve.


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