Poached pears with goats cheese mousse and red wine sauce

Delight your dinner party guests with Ed Baines's luxurious starter - wine-marinated pears stuffed with a light goats' cheese mousse
By Ed Baines
Poached pears with goats cheese mousse and red wine sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus soaking and marinating
  • Effort: medium



  • 6 slices Parma ham
  • 6 large firm pears
  • 125 g goats' cheese
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 3 dried apricots, soaked for 1 hour, drained, finely chopped
  • 1 bunches leaves basil
  • pinches ground nutmeg
  • pinches ground white pepper

For the Marinade:

  • 200 ml port
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • juice of 1/2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinches salt


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

2. Oil a large piece of tin foil on its shiny side and spread across a baking sheet. Place the Parma ham on the oiled foil.

3. Bake the Parma ham for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

4. To prepare the pears, first core them while retaining the stalk. This is best achieved by coring two-thirds up from the base of the pear leaving the remaining third with the stalk attached.

5. Carefully peel the skin from the pear from the stalk downwards. Place the cored, peeled pears upright in a saucepan, fitting them in snugly against each other. Add the marinade ingredients.

6. Over a high heat bring the pears to the boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Leave the pears in the covered pan for 1 hour.

7. Carefully remove the pears from the saucepan, making sure not to lift them by their stalks as these will then come away. Reserve the marinade.

8. Place the poached pears in a deep-sided dish and pour over the reserved marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

9. Meanwhile, blend the goats' cheese in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add the double cream and pulse-blend until the mixture is smooth and just beginning to peak. Do not over-blend or the cream will separate.

10. Gently fold in the dried apricots, basil, nutmeg and white pepper.

11. Spoon the goats' cheese mousse into a piping bag with a small nozzled end, ideally a plastic disposable piping bag. Chill the mousse in the piping mousse.

12. To serve carefully fill each pear with the goats' cheese mousse. Place the filled pears on a serving dish. Strain the marinade and spoon over the pears. Garnish with the crispy Parma ham, leaning the slices upright against the pears.

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