Easy to make and elegant these bourbon poached pears are a wonderful dessert. Gently simmered in a brown sugar and bourbon poaching liquid with cinnamon and nutmeg these pears make an excellent dessert for any occasion.
One of the desserts I have found you can never go wrong with is a poached pear. There are so many flavor combinations and they are so quick and easy to make. Essentially just core and peel then simmer for less than 30 minutes and BAM you have a wonderful dessert. Plus it looks like you spent a lot of time on them which makes them incredibly impressive. Depending on the time of year or you mood you can serve them either warm or cold.
In this recipe
What I like about this recipe is the few ingredients in it. Most of these you will already have in the house so this makes for a great recipe to just “throw together”. One of the other cool things is you can add more pears without increasing the poaching liquid.
Bourbon: with the addition of the brown sugar and vanilla you will want to use a vanilla that is a bit spicier that has strong hints of cloves, cinnamon, or even smoke.
Brown sugar: I am partial to using dark brown sugar in order to utilize the rich molasses flavor. However if you want a lighter flavor then you can use light brown sugar.
Bosc pears: these are the best pears to use for this recipe as they hold their shape the best. Plus I think they look the coolest. However you can use Bartlett or Anjou pears as well although you might need to shorten the cooking time to make sure they keep their shape. Pierce the inside of the pear to check doneness.
Peeling and coring
When doing this step you will want to slice off the bottom of the pear first. This will help it stand up while cooking or when you want to plate it. It also makes coring a little easier. If you have an apple or pear corer that can remove the core without punching through the whole fruit feet free to use it. If not then you can take a knife to cut out a circle around the base of the pear and then use a spoon to scoop out the core. Make sure you core the pear before peeling as it is easier to hold the pear.
Making the poaching liquid
One of the things you want to make sure of is that before making the poaching liquid is to not peel the pears. Do this step once the poaching liquid has started to heat up. That will help prevent the pears from turning brown. This recipe calls for whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. These will help impart their flavors without being too intense. If you are going to use ground spices then use a pinch of cloves, they are really strong, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring it to a boil and the reduce to a simmer.
Making bourbon poached pears
The pears will not be completely submerged in the poaching liquid. That is the way it is supposed to be. So what you will want to do is uncover the pears and rotate them gently every 5 minutes or so. If the bottoms of the pears are considerably larger than the tops you might want to finish the cooking of the pears by standing them up in the poaching liquid. This will help keep the tops from getting too soft. Once the pears are done you can reduce the sauce by half and use the liquid as a sauce to pour over the pears right before serving.
Looking for other pear recipes?
Brown Sugar and Bourbon Poached Pears
- Dutch oven or large saucepan
- Spider skimmer or slotted spoon
- 4 bosc pears
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup bourbon
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
Make the poaching liquid
- In a Dutch oven or large saucepan add the water, bourbon, sugars, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- While waiting for the poaching liquid to boil peel and core the pears.
Poaching the pears
- Once the pears and ready and the liquid has boiled and the heat reduced, add the pears to the Dutch oven and spoon over the poaching liquid. The liquid may not cover the pears, this is ok and stir/rotate the pears every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking, about 20-25 minutes.
- Using a spider skimmer or slotted spoon, gently remove the pears from the poaching liquid and place on a plate or shallow bowl. Increase the heat and bring the poaching liquid to a boil again and allow to reduce by half. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- If you want to serve the pears warm spoon the hot poaching reduction over the pears on the plate or bowl they were set aside. If serving cold refrigerate the pears in the poaching reduction before serving.