Poached Pears with Riesling

Cooking with wine is a way to add flavor to food. Martha makes four delicious recipes using wine: beef bourguignon, cioppino (fish stew), chicken Marsala, and wine-poached pears. Each is perfect for a party menu.

Serves – 6


  • 6 firm but ripe Bosc pears, with stems left on
  • 1/2 bottle (750ml) dry or off-dry Riesling
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise


  1. Peel pears, leaving stems attached, then core them from the bottom using a small melon baller to scoop out the seeds. Cut a round of parchment to fit inside a large pot (it should be wide enough to hold the pears in one layer.) Place pears in pot along with the wine, brown sugar and enough water to just cover pears (2 to 3 cups.) Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan, then drop in pod. Cover with parchment round.
  2.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat; simmer, turning pears occasionally to coat with liquid, until very tender but not falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on ripeness and size of pears. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pears to a large bowl. Remove and discard vanilla bean pod. Cover bowl with the parchment round (or cut a new one to fit.)
  3. Bring poaching liquid to a boil and cook until reduced to a thin syrup consistency, about 10 minutes. Pour syrup over pears and refrigerate, covered with parchment until cool. Serve  pears in shallow bowls or cups; tuck a chocolate mint leaf into stem end of each one, if desired.