Pears Poached in Red Wine with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

Rachel Willen
  • Yield: 8 servings


4 firm Bosc or Comice pears (do not use ripe or soft pears)
1 red wine
1 vanilla bean, whole or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for poaching liquid plus
1/2teaspoon vanilla extract for Marscapone Cream
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
2cups sugar
1 (8-ounce) containers of Marscapone cheese
1/4cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4cup powdered sugar
2tablespoons butter


  1. Peel pears in long strokes to avoid creating a choppy surface to the peeled pair. Cut the pear in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller or small scoop or spoon to scoop out the seeds and core. You are creating a small “bowl” in the pear half that will later hold the marscapone cream. 
  2. In a large saucepan, bring wine and an equal amount of cold water to a simmer. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and add to wine and water mixture. Add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and sugar, to taste. Add pears to liquid and simmer for 20 to 35 minutes or until tender but not too soft. Remove the pears from the liquid and cool. (If making ahead, hold pears in poaching liquid, removing the cinnamon, vanilla and bay leaf. Cool the liquid and pears down to below 70F, then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove pears from liquid and bring to room temperature, then proceed with the rest of the procedure to finish the dish.)
  3. Remove the cinnamon, bay leaves and vanilla bean from the wine mixture. Continue to simmer and reduce the liquid until you are left with only 1/4 the original volume and the liquid left is a thickened syrupy consistency. Be sure not to over-reduce or burn the syrup. 
  4. While the wine mixture is reducing, combine in a small bowl the mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, pinch cinnamon, vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth.
  5. Add butter to reduced sauce and stir until combined. To serve, place a small dollop of the marscapone cream on a dessert dish. Place a poached pear half on top of the dollop, which acts as a “glue” to keep it from sliding on the plate. Then fill the “bowl” of the pear with a generous amount of marscapone cream. Spoon or drizzle pear with red wine syrup. 

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Willen,