Spiced Honey + Wine Poached Pear Pie is an elegant dessert that lets the pears really shine through. It’s the perfect addition to your holiday dessert table!
Red + White Wine Poached Pears in a Stunner of a Pie
Our most recent Cozy Mystery Cooking Club features a pie shop owner who makes the most amazing sounding pies — like Pumpkin Gingersnap, Mocha Pecan, and my personal wishlist pie, Cranberry Pear Hazelnut.
I don’t remember the last time I made a pie. It’s not my thing, so I knew from the get-go it was going to be a challenge to come up with a recipe. I first thought about going savory, but then…
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and pears are beautiful and abundant right now. Once I decided on adding a little wine — both red and white — the deal was sealed.
Ingredients for Wine Poached Pear Pie
Poaching pears doesn’t take a lot of time, but it is a bit of a process. For that reason, I’m choosing to use store-bought pie dough and focus my energy on creating a pretty tableau of pears. For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Bosc pears — this variety holds their shape well when poached or baked. Choose unblemished pears that are still firm because they’ll be ‘cooked twice’.
- Red + white wine — one bottle of each to create two pans of poaching liquid for a two-tone pie.
- Honey — to sweeten the poaching liquid.
- Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, vanilla extract + orange peel — to flavor the poaching liquid.
- Refrigerated pie dough — this typically comes in a 2-pack. Use one for the pie shell and if you’re feeling extra fancy, use the other to decorate the edges.
- Corn starch — this will be mixed with some of the poaching liquid to thicken the juices released from the pears while baking.
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How to Make This Pear Pie
Poach the Pears
You’ll need two saucepans. They don’t need to be identical, just large enough to fit half the pears in a single layer. Cut a parchment round to fit inside each of the pans. Cut a whole in the center of each piece of parchment.
Combine white wine and 1/4 cup honey in one sauce pan; red wine and remaining honey in the second sauce pan. Warm over medium heat to dissolve the honey.
Divide the pears, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla and orange peel between the 2 pans. Cover the surface with parchment. Simmer for 15 minutes over medium-low.
With a slotted spoon remove the pears to paper towels to drain and cool. Continue reducing the poaching liquid for another 10 to 12 minutes. Strain into separate containers and cool.
Assemble + Bake the Pie
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Prepare a 9” pie dish with the refrigerated dough.
With the cut side down, slice the pears into 1/8″ slices, keeping the slices together. Fan each pear half and transfer to the pie dish, alternating between red and white wine poached pears. Arrange them in any pattern you like. If you’d like to add some decorative elements, now is the time!
Combine 1/4 cup the white poaching wine with 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Pour it all over the fruit.
Bake for 45 min. Set the pie on a rack to cool. The juices will thicken as it cools. If you’d like to add a little shine back to the fruit filling, brush the fruit with more of the white poaching wine.
Bonus Step — Use the second round of pie dough to create decorations for your pie. I used a couple of fall themed cookie cutters to cut a few shapes (leaf + acorn). A straight edge and pizza cutter helped to create long strips of dough for braiding. I brushed a little water on the edges to help the decorations stick.
Common Questions for Poached Pear Pie
Instead of wine, opt for a water + sweetener combo, a tea + sweetener combo, or fruit juices (with or without the addition of honey or other sweetener). You can use fruit juices to create a two-tone pie — like cranberry, pomegranate or red grape for red pears and apple, white grape or any clear juice for white pears.
Poach the pears in one liquid instead of two for a single-color pear pie.
Use any spices and aromatics you like. In addition to cinnamon, clove, vanilla and orange peel, you can add or substitute cardamom pods, star anise, dried fruits, fresh herbs, ginger, or other citrus, to name a few.
If you prefer another variety of pear, Anjou, Concorde, Bartlett and Forelle are good substitutions. You can also go with apples!
Cut the pears into chunks instead of slices for a different look, or if you prefer to add a top crust to your pie.
Absolutely not…that just saves me time. If you love making pastry crust or have time to make it from scratch, go for it!
The poaching liquid is going to be infused with the spices and pear and is a great addition to many things. Reduce it down to a syrup and mix it into salad dressings and cocktails; pour it over ice cream, pie and other desserts; add a splash to hot tea for some autumn flair.
- If the wine does not entirely cover the pears in the saucepan, add water until they are fully submerged.
- Use a shallow versus a deep dish pie plate for the amount of fruit in this recipe.
- Wrap leftovers and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.
Here are More Dessert Recipes to Try!
- Pumpkin + Maple Semifreddo
- A Trio of Mini Desserts
- Fresh Peach Pavlovas with Fuzzy Navel Syrup
- Deliciously Decadent Raspberry Java Brownie Sundae
- Easy Cranberry Gingerbread Bundt Cake
Spiced Honey + Wine Poached Pear Pie
- 9" pie plate
- vegetable peeler
- Sauce Pans
- 6 Bosc pears unblemished, firm
- 750 ml white wine
- 750 ml red wine
- ½ cup honey divided
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 2 tsp vanilla extract divided
- 2 3" lengths of orange peel
- 1 refrigerated pie crust use a 2nd for decorations, if desired
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- Peel and halve the pears. Trim the stem and bottom off without cutting too much flesh away. Using a spoon or melon baller, remove the core + seeds. Set aside.
- You'll need 2 medium saucepans; each should fit half the pears in a single layer. Cut a circle of parchment to fit inside each pan. Cut a whole in the center of the parchment to allow steam to escape. Set aside.
- Add the bottle of red wine to one pan; the bottle of white to the other. To each, add 1/4 cup honey and warm over medium heat to dissolve. Evenly divide the pears, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla and orange peel between the 2 pans. Cover the surface with parchment. Simmer for 15 minutes over medium-low.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the pears to a paper towels to drain and cool.
- Continue reducing poaching liquid for another 10 to 12 minutes. Strain into separate containers and cool.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Prepare a pie dish with the refrigerated dough.
- With the cut side down, slice the pears into 1/8" slices, keeping the slices together. Fan each pear half and transfer to the pie dish, alternating between red and white wine poached pears. Arrange in any pattern you like.
- If decorating the edges of the pie with cutouts or shapes, apply those now.
- Combine 1/4 cup the white poaching wine with 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Pour it all over the fruit.
- Bake for 45 min. Set on a rack to cool. The juices will thicken as it cools. If you'd like to add a little shine back to the fruit filling, brush the fruit with more of the white poaching wine.
Nutritional values are estimated and provided as a general guideline only. I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying ingredient purchases.
This recipe is part of Sip + Sanity’s 2021 Thanksgiving Menu that includes recipes for brunch, cocktail hour and the main event. Check it out for make-ahead tips and the timeline!