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Red-Wine-Poached Pears with Star Anise & Pistachios

photo: Scott Phillips

Servings: 4


  • 2-1/4 cups dry red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 ripe but slightly firm pears, peeled, halved through the stem, and cored
  • 2 Tbs. roughly chopped, lightly toasted pistachios
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 410
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 80
  • Fat (g): 9
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Cholesterol (mg): 30
  • Sodium (mg): 95
  • Carbohydrates (g): 58
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 4


  • Combine the wine, sugar, star anise, vanilla, salt, and 3/4 cup water in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan that’s wide enough to fit the halved pears in a snug single layer. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low, add the pears, and cook at a bare simmer (basting occasionally if there are any unsubmerged parts) until just tender when pierced with a wooden skewer or toothpick, 15 to 30 minutes depending on ripeness. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the pears to macerate in the poaching liquid for at least 2 hours, or discard the star anise and refrigerate in the liquid overnight.
  • Transfer 2/3 cup of the poaching liquid to a small saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced by half and slightly syrupy, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Spoon a little syrup onto each of four serving plates. Place the pears, cut side down, on a cutting board and, holding the knife at a 45-degree angle, slice them lengthwise about 1/3 inch thick almost to the stem, so the slices remain attached at the stem end. Transfer the pears to the serving plates and press down gently to fan them out, exposing the lighter centers. Sprinkle the pears with the pistachios and serve with a scoop of ice cream.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • User avater
    Ajawaan | 05/25/2013


  • Clari_Cooking | 12/12/2010

    Very easy to make and quite delicious! Would probably go with a lesser bodied wine or reduce sugar amount next time as it was a bit sweet for me and my husband.

  • Evanston | 01/01/2010

    I made this dessert without the Star Anise... (unable to find it) but the result was a total hit! I would make this dessert again... easy to prepared ahead of time and looks quite elegant!

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