This easy and elegant dessert is perfect for those who love a little bit of "savory" with their sweets! Pears are poached in sweetened red wine, and then topped with soft, slightly melted blue cheese. The wine is reduced to make a syrup that is drizzled over top for the finishing touch!
Note: This post was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2020 with new photos and more detailed instructions.
If you are looking for a showstopping, sophisticated, yet still super easy dessert, these poached pears with blue cheese are just the thing! The red wine turns these pears a glorious ruby shade, which is complemented by the creamy blue cheese. The glossy, sweet and slightly tart red wine syrup drizzled over the top adds that extra special finishing touch.
And, the best part is that this dessert is super easy to make a few days ahead of time. So, one less thing to worry about when you're preparing for a dinner party or night in with your special someone!
(If you need a "date night" main course to pair with your fancy dessert, check out my recipe for Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta!)
- Pears: I like using Bosc pears because they hold their shape well. I talk more about pear selection in the FAQ section below!
- Red wine: I am in no way a wine aficionado, so I'm sorry I can't provide any sophisticated advice on the perfect wine to choose. In my opinion, the best wine to use is one that you enjoy the taste of, and that isn't too expensive (since you will be cooking it down!).
- Blue cheese: my favorite choice for blue cheese here is something that is creamy and not too overpowering. I've made this dish with both a soft gorgonzola and triple cream blue cheese (Cambozola) and they were both delicious. I also like using a wedge of cheese, rather than crumbles so you can get a nice even covering of cheese on the pear!
- Brown sugar: you can use either dark or light brown sugar, the choice is yours! Dark brown sugar will give a little bit more of a deep flavor, which I like.
Step by step photos
1. Place the red wine, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan set over medium heat.
2. While the wine is coming up to temp, peel and halve the pears, then scoop out the seeds and cut out the stem with a small paring knife. Add them to the pot.
3 When the pears are tender, remove them from the pot, along with the cinnamon stick, and set aside.
4. Allow the wine to continue to reduce, until you have achieved the desired consistency. I like when it's pretty syrupy, and you can trace a line through it with a wooden spoon.
5. When you're ready to serve, place the pears on a baking sheet. Add the blue cheese on top and warm in the preheated oven until the cheese just begins to soften and melt around the edges. Top with the wine syrup and serve immediately!
Tips and tricks
Preparing poached pears ahead of time
You can easily make this dessert ahead of time! Once the pears are finished poaching, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 - 3 days. Store the wine syrup in a separate airtight container.
When you want to serve the pears, allow them to come to room temperature, then do the final steps as described in the recipe. And, you will need to re-heat the wine syrup in the microwave: use 15 second bursts on high heat, stirring in-between until its warm and pourable. (Add a paper towel or some kind of cover on top to avoid any potential splatter!)
Other tips and tricks
- You can customize the red wine syrup to your liking - you can leave it thinner, or reduce it until it's nice and thick. If you've overshot it and it's too thick, you can always whisk in a little water.
- If you want a little extra special "fancy" touch, you can leave the stem on the pears. Just cut the middle core part out with a paring knife, leaving a small bit near the top to hold the stem on.
- A small, round measuring spoon is perfect for neatly scooping out the seeds from the pears!
As I mentioned briefly in the Ingredient notes section, I like using Bosc pears. I have found that even when they are ripe, they hold their shape well during cooking.
I have read up some on the subject of poaching, and have come across many conflicting opinions on what types of pears are most suitable. Ultimately, whatever pear you choose, I would try to use a pear that is ripe (or approaching ripeness) but that is still firm. If it's too under-ripe, it won't have as sweet of a flavor, but if it's overripe it may not hold its shape as well.
Yes you sure can! You can do everything right before adding the cheese and warming it in the oven. See the section "preparing poached pears ahead of time" above for detailed instructions on how to make the dessert ahead.
Full disclosure - I have not prepared the poached pears with ground cinnamon. I like using the cinnamon stick, because the flavor permeates nicely without being overpowering and the syrup remains smooth.
That being said, if you want to experiment with substituting ground cinnamon, check out this helpful article on ground cinnamon versus cinnamon sticks that gives some tips to consider!
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or review in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And sign up for my weekly newsletter to get recipes delivered straight to you!Print
An elegant yet easy to make dessert that's sweet with a savory twist. The red wine poaching liquid is reduced to a glossy syrup for that extra special finishing touch!
- 1 bottle red wine (750 ml)
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 Bosc pears
- 4 - 6 ounces blue cheese
- Preheat oven to 350° (the oven can also be set once pears are finished cooking, before reducing wine).
- Add the red wine, white sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon stick to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Meanwhile, peel the pears, cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Cut out the bottom end and the center core with a small paring knife (you can leave on the stem for decoration if desired). Add pear halves to the saucepan.
- Simmer until the pears are soft, about 15-25 minutes depending on the ripeness of the pears. Turn heat down to medium low if necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Turn the pears occasionally during cooking if they are not completely submerged. Once soft, remove the pears from the liquid with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Remove the cinnamon stick. Continue cooking the wine over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and then frequently once it begins to thicken. Turn off the heat once the wine becomes syrupy and there is about ½ - ¾ cup of liquid remaining. Depending on how hard the liquid is boiling, this should take about 15 minutes.
- Place the pear halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Place 1 - 1 ½ ounces of blue cheese on each pear half. Bake in the preheated oven just until the cheese softens and the edges begin to melt, about 2-3 minutes.
- Drizzle the wine syrup on each pear half and serve immediately.
- Bosc pears tend to keep their shape even when cooked, but you could try substituting another type of pear as long as it's firm. Just keep an eye on them during cooking to make sure they don't start to break apart.
- Use any type of blue cheese you like (gorgonzola or triple cream blue cheese are my favorites!), but I prefer a block of cheese instead of crumbles to get a nice, thick layer of cheese over the entire pear.
- The pears and wine syrup can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for 2 - 3 days before assembling the dish. Just let the pears come to room temperature before adding the blue cheese and baking, and microwave the syrup for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until liquefied. (Make sure you use a microwave-safe container, and cover the top to avoid any spatter!)
Keywords: poached pears, red wine poached pears, poached pears with blue cheese, pears with blue cheese