• Try using chianti to poach these in for a nice Italian twist. If you happen to have a few amaretti biscuits handy, then crumble those over the top just before you serve your pears. Bellissima!

    Pears poached in spiced wine

    Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: 30 mins


    • 4 firm pears
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 300ml red wine
    • 250g castor sugar
    • 300ml water
    • 1 vanilla pod, sliced down the middle, seeds scraped out
    • 1 small cinnamon stick
    • 4 cloves
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 1 thick slice of fresh ginger
    • vanilla ice cream, to serve
    • sprigs of thyme, to garnish, optional



    Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler, leaving the little stalks on the top, and scoop as much of the core out of the bottom as you can with the end of a small knife. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so they stand upright easily. Sit them in a bowl just covered with water and add the lemon juice – this’ll stop them going brown until you need to use them.


    Put the wine, sugar, water, vanilla seeds and pod in a deep saucepan just big enough to fit all the pears in. Throw in the cinnamon, cloves, orange zest and ginger, and drop the pears in gently. They should be just submerged. Place the pan on the heat, bring to the boil and simmer gently until the pears are just soft, about 20 minutes. Carefully lift the pears out with a slotted spoon, place in a serving dish and keep warm.


    Put the pan of syrup back on the stove and boil until reduced by about a third. Scoop some ice cream onto four plates, place the pears on top and spoon over the syrup, finishing with sprigs of thyme.


    To drink: Light, fruity Simonsig Pinotage will enhance the spicy aromas of this ever popular dessert.