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Winter Poached Pears

by James Morton

Christmas is long gone and the nights are getting shorter. But we’re certainly not sweltering yet, so use up a few leftover festive mulling spices and let this one warm you up.

Prep time

30 minutes

Cook time

1 hour






Step 1

First, find a pot that’s big enough for all your pears and clean it thoroughly – if you’re anything like me, it’s covered in remnants of curry and stew.

Step 2

Into your pan, add the vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, salt, nutmeg, sugar and cider and place on a medium heat whilst you do the prep.

Step 3

Cut the orange in half, then stick your cloves into the cut flesh so no one gets a nasty, clovey surprise in their bowl. Peel your ginger and chop it into little chunks. Add these both to your heating liquid.

Step 4

Cautiously, peel your pears. You should start at the top and carefully work your way to the bottom in one smooth, vertical motion. Then turn the pear and repeat. Leave the stalks intact as these are useful for hoisting the fruit out (besides, they make it look pretty).

Step 5

Once the liquid is simmering, place the pears inside and simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Then, turn the heat off, place the lid on the pan (or some foil if you don’t have the lid) and leave for another 20-30 minutes, or until ready to serve. You can gently heat them up before serving, if they’ve cooled too much.

Step 6

Serve with a generous amount of the cooking liquor to slurp up with them, with a side of ice cream or cream if you’re feeling indulgent.


Top Tip:


For an even richer, more viscous syrup, remove the pears then boil the syrup furiously for 10-15 minutes to thicken it. Alternatively, don’t do this and just drink it. It’s delicious, and the alcohol will be mostly boiled off.




  • 6 Conference or Williams pears, stalks left on
  • At least 2 bottles of perry (pear cider)
  • 1 inch piece of fresh (root) ginger
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 small orange
  • 8 cloves
  • ¼ whole nutmeg
  • A large pinch of salt
  • 6-10 allspice berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or 3 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • A good slug of vanilla extract