Poached Pears with Strawberry and Sparkling Vouvray Sauce

Best dressed pear in town (and the tastiest too!)
Best dressed pear in town (and the tastiest too!)

Okay, so the actual recipe from Gabriel calls for peaches, but being the middle of winter here in Melbourne quality peaches are hard to come by so some seasonal substitution was required.  If you are keen to make the peach version, check out Gabriel’s original recipe here.

Substitutions aside, the pears work really well with this sweet and slightly fizz-tingling dessert from the Loire Valley region of France.  The splash of sparkling Vouvray enlivens the strawberry sauce, really dialling up the freshness.   The recipe itself is pretty simple, so give it a go and enjoy some beautiful seasonal fruits.


  • 6 lovely ripe pears such as Packam or Beurre Bosc
  • 6 cups water
  • 400 g (14 oz) sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod, cut open
  • 3 tbsp whipped cream
  • 500 g (1 lb) strawberries
  • ½ cup sparkling Vouvray wine
  • 3 tbsp finely cut shelled pistachio nuts

How to do it

Start your syrup by placing the water in a medium sized saucepan with 350g of the caster sugar and the vanilla pod and bring it all to the boil.

Vanillary, sugary goodness!
Vanillary, sugary goodness!

While waiting for the syrup to heat up, peel your pears and remove the cores and seeds through the base using a paring knife (carefully!) or a melon baller. I forgot to take a photo of this part,  but if you are a visual person, you can check out a good demonstration here.  When the water is boiling place the pears in the pot, turn the heat down and simmer covered for 15 – 20 minutes or until pears are tender (you may need to turn them over or around half way through cooking to ensure they are cooking evenly). When cooked, allow the pears to cool slightly in the syrup before serving.

Bzzz, bzzz
Bzzz, bzzz

Meanwhile you can start preparing the sauce.  Firstly, whip the cream with the remaining 50g of caster sugar.  Then puree your strawberries using a stick mixer, and mix in the sparkling Vouvray (I used Brown Brothers Chenin Bianco created from the white grape varietal originally from the Loire Valley region of France) before gently folding in the whipped cream.  Refrigerate this sauce until your pears are ready.


Best dressed pear in town (and the tastiest too!)
Best dressed pear in town (and the tastiest too!)

When your pears are cooled transfer them to serving bowls and drizzle over the strawberry sauce.  Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and sit back to enjoy.

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