Poached pears are an easy but impressively elegant dessert. Poach these peeled pears in a solution of port, sugar, lemon and spices and serve them whole with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: Serves 8.



  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup port
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 strips lemon peel (3x1 inch each)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1 slice fresh ginger, 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 firm ripe pears, peeled, halved lengthwise and cored
  • Vanilla ice cream*


  1. To prepare poaching liquid, combine pomegranate juice, port and sugar in a non-reactive Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  2. Add lemon peel, cloves, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, ginger, star anise and nutmeg. Carefully place pears, cut side down, in poaching liquid and return to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer gently, covered, for 20 minutes.
  4. Turn pears over and continue simmering, covered, until pears are tender, about 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer each pear half from poaching liquid to an individual serving bowl; reserve poaching liquid.
  6. Remove and discard lemon peel, cloves, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, ginger and star anise from poaching liquid.
  7. Serve pears with ice cream and poaching liquid.
Nutritional analysis per serving:

148 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.4 g protein, 38.2 g carbohydrate, 1.1 g fibre, 5 mg sodium

*Ingredient not included in nutritional analysis.

Tip: Star anise is a brown star-shaped pod containing seeds. It is used as a spice in Asian cuisine. Look for it in Asian grocery stores or specialty food stores.