Pears in Wine Sauce

Wise Winter Wine Desserts

Our diets are in peril! Like clockwork, as soon as the New Year begins, so do all those ads telling us how unfit we are. There are so many diet plans that would have us beat the battle of the bulge as we enter a new year. But while we all scramble in the grocery store to find something healthy to cook, my sweet tooth has kicked in and I am craving something sinfully sweet and succulent to help ward off the winter blues.

That nagging feeling leads me right to the produce department. Aha, caught you! Maybe you thought that I was going to recommend some cake, pie, cookies or ice cream. Not a chance. I am thinking sweets that are good for you like baked apples with walnuts and figs, or pears baked in wine. All the ingredients to make them are readily available and the recipes are easy to make. But the best part is how surprisingly good they taste, leaving you not caring a wit if you ever eat pie, cake or cookies again. Your diet, if you stay on it, will thank you.

Pears in Wine Sauce

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  • 6 Bartlett pears or Anjou, ripe, washed
  • 6 cup plus 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice or pomegranate juice
  • 3 cups red wine dry
  • Confectioners sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • With a small knife remove a small slice from the bottom of each pear to make it stand upright. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 or 5 long narrow strips of skin from each pear to make a striped look. Place the pears upright in a deep 3 inch baking dish just large enough to hold them snugly.
  • Separately combine the juice and wine together and pour over the pears.
  • Sprinkle each pear with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  • Bake the pears uncovered for about 35 minutes, basting them occasionally with the wine sauce.
  • The pears are done when a knife is easily inserted into them; do not overbake them or they will collapse. When cooked, transfer the pears with a slotted spoon to a serving dish.
  • Pour the wine sauce into a small saucepan and add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Bring the mixture to boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and is syrupy looking.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Baste the pears with the syrup frequently and refrigerate them at least one hour before serving.
  • To serve, place the pears on individual dessert dishes and spoon some of the sauce over each one.
  • With a small sieve sprinkle confectioners sugar over each pear for a beautiful striped effect.


© 2010 Mary Ann Esposito, author of Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites: Quick and Delicious Recipes from an Italian Kitchen, is the creator and host of the long-running PBS series Ciao Italia, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010. She is the author of eleven successful cookbooks, including Ciao Italia Slow and Easy and Ciao Italia Pronto! She lives in Durham, New Hampshire. For more information, please visit

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