Port poached pears are such a treat and a great end to a holiday dinner. If you’re planning a heavy complex holiday dinner, perhaps you would like a simple desert that looks beautiful but requires very little effort. Port poached pears deliver in that regard, they look impressive and pack a tasty punch, and so easy to create. Another bonus is that you can make these port poached pears a day in advance and serve them hot or cold, all you need to do is decide when to serve. 


Port Poached Pears by Diverse Dinners


Port in the winter time is such a satisfying indulgence. Soaking pears in port and serving with mascarpone just takes the indulgence a little further. I really like port, not just for its taste, it also reminds me of home. Port is a typically British after dinner tipple. Check out this TV ad for Cockburns Special Reserve Port from the 1970s, it’s hysterical. 



Now don’t go crazy trying to find Cockburns, I used Sandeman Ruby Port, it was perfect for this recipe, Taylor’s will do also.

Now, whatever you do, don’t forego the mascarpone, it works really well with port poached pears and unlike whipped cream, it doesn’t disintegrate when you drop a dollop of the stuff into the sauce, instead it stands firm and awaits the spoon. Clearly I didn’t want to risk proving my theory in my pictures, but trust me, mascarpone is the way to go.


Port Poached Pears by Diverse Dinners

Port Poached Pears
Serves 4
An elegant dessert rich with winter flavors
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 750 ml port (1 bottle)
  2. 2 whole cloves
  3. 1 cinnamon stick
  4. 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 star anise
  6. 1 piece ginger (2" x 1" - shredded)
  7. 4 bosc pears
  8. 8 oz mascarpone
  9. 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Equipment & Utensils
  1. Saucepan with cover - just large enough to fit 4 pears on their side
  2. Apple corer or sharp pairing knife
  1. Pour port into saucepan and place on high heat.
  2. Heat port until boiling then add cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, star anise and ginger.
  3. Peel pears leaving stalks in tact then core from the base of each pear using a corer or sharp pairing knife.
  4. Rinse pears, shake off excess water and then lower into port sauce.
  5. Pears should be placed on their sides, and the port sauce should just cover the pears.
  6. Lower heat to a simmer and poach, turning every 10 mins, until pears are soft (30-40 mins).
  7. Once pears are cooked, remove them from the port sauce and allow them to cool.
  8. Raise the heat to medium and reduce port sauce by 1/3.
  9. Once sauce has reduced remove from heat, strain and allow to cool.
To Serve
  1. Combine mascarpone and sugar thoroughly and set aside
  2. Stand each pear in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate.
  3. Pour 1/4 of port sauce over each pear.
  4. Then add a dollop of sweetened mascarpone.
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