• This takes the humble poached pear to the next level. Perfect with ice cream or vanilla custard

    Red wine and honey poached pears in puff pastry

    Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: 2 hours


    • 500ml (2 cups) red wine
    • 500ml (2 cups) boiling water
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) sugar
    • 45ml (3 tbsp) honey
    • 1 cinnamon quill
    • 5 cardamom pods, lightly bruised
    • 1 star anise
    • 4 pears, peeled but stems kept intact
    • 400g ready-made puff pastry
    • 1 large egg, whisked
    • 1L vanilla ice cream, to serve
    • 25g (¼ cup) toasted almonds, to serve
    • honey, to serve



    Bring the wine, water, sugar, honey, cinnamon, cardamom and star anise to the boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring it down to a gentle simmer.


    Place the peeled pears in the liquid, ensuring that they are completely covered. Allow them to poach gently until tender but still firm enough to hold their shape, about 20 – 25 minutes, but this will depend on the size and ripeness of the pears. Let the pears cool down in the liquid for half an hour or so, allowing them to soak up more of the colour and flavour of the wine and spices.


    Preheat the oven to 200°C.


    Drain the pears on paper towel. Cut the pastry into 1,5-cm strips. Cover the pears with the strips of pastry by following the natural shape of the pear. Start at the top and work your way down in a spiral motion. If the strip is too short, add another piece by gently pressing the end onto the existing pastry. Repeat with the restof the pears.


    Brush the whisked egg onto the pastry and bake them in the preheated oven until golden and crisp, about20 – 25 minutes.


    Serve with the vanilla ice cream, toasted almonds and a drizzle of honey.