Poached pears

imageSeason:  Autumn/WinterSweets

Difficulty:  Easy

Serves:  8 at home or 30 tastes in the classroom

Fresh from the garden:  pears

Recipe source: Adapted from Collingwood College, Victoria


  • non-slip mat & chopping board
  • 2 knives – 1 large, 1 small
  • vegetable peeler
  • lemon juicer
  • very large saucepan
  • melon baller
  • slotted spoon
  • colander

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 16–20 pears
  • 2 L cold water
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
What to do

  • Set out your equipment and ingredients.

To make the syrup:

  • Set out the chopping board and knife.
  • Peel the zest from the orange and the lemon with the vegetable peeler.
  • Cut the lemon in half with a large knife, then juice it. (Adding the lemon juice helps the pears remain a pale yellow colour, rather than turning dark as they cook.)
  • Cut the vanilla pod down the middle lengthways and open it out.  Using the back of the knife scape the seeds from the inside of the vanilla pod.
  • Pour the water and lemon juice into the pot, then add the sugar, orange peel, lemon peel and vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavours.

To prepare the pears:

  • Wash the pears. Check each pear carefully for caterpillar holes. (Discard any that have caterpillar holes.)
  • Peel the pears with the vegetable peeler.
  • Cut the pears in half and scoop out the cores with a melon baller.
  • To stop the pears from going brown, use a large slotted spoon to lower the pears into the syrup straight away. (The acid from the lemon and orange prevents the pears from oxidising, which is why they turn brown if left in the air too long.)
  • Once all the pears are in, gently heat the pot to barely simmering.
  • Poach the pears until they just soft when pierced with a knife, then turn off the heat.
  • Leave the pears in the syrup to cool.
  • To serve, use the slotted spoon to lift the pears out of the pot and place one half in each bowl. (One pear half per person.)


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