Poached Pears with Vanilla Sauce

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. Cook: 25 min. + chilling


6 servings

Updated: Jun. 23, 2022
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
Poached Pears with Vanilla Sauce Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 2-1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large 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 zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
  • 3 whole cloves


  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 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 zest, 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.

Nutrition Facts

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