Poached Pears with Vanilla Sauce Recipe

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This dessert is a great ending to a special-occasion meal. Whole pears are lightly spiced and chilled, then served with a heavenly custard sauce.—Al Latimer, Bentonville, Arizona
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 25 min. + chilling
MAKES:6 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 25 min. + chilling
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 2-1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 6 medium firm pears, stems attached
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
  • 3 whole cloves

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 539 calories, 13g fat (7g saturated fat), 174mg cholesterol, 33mg sodium, 107g carbohydrate (96g sugars, 4g fiber), 4g protein.


  1. In a heavy 2-qt. saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in milk and cream until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Gradually add a small amount of hot mixture to egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly (do not boil). Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl; place a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap on top of sauce. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. In a large bowl, combine 6 cups water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Carefully peel pears, leaving stems attached. Immediately plunge pears into lemon water. In a large saucepan, combine lemon peel, and the remaining sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Add cinnamon stick, cloves and pears. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until pears are tender.
  4. Carefully remove pears to a plate. Discard cinnamon stick and cloves. Drizzle syrup over pears. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. To serve, place pears on dessert plates; drizzle with chilled vanilla sauce. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Poached Pears with Vanilla Sauce in Taste of Home October/November 2001, p53

Sweet White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.

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katlaydee3 User ID: 3741999 90750
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2010

"Very good dessert. Takes a lot of time but worth it."

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