Tipsy Poached Pears in a Sweet, Sober Sauce

Poached in a vanilla-scented spicy syrup, Tonia Buxton's brandy-spiked pears make an impressive dessert
By Tonia Buxton
Tipsy Poached Pears in a Sweet, Sober Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus cooling
  • Effort: medium



  • zest and juice of 1 lemons
  • 6 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  • 1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped out and reserved
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 50 ml white wine vinegar
  • 400 ml water
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 6 tbsp clear honey
  • 3 firm ripe pears, carefully peeled, stalks left intact
  • 1 tbsp brandy


1. Put the lemon zest and juice into a saucepan with the cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla pod and seeds, cloves, vinegar and water.

2. Add the sugar and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the honey

3. Sit the pears in the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Using a perforated spoon, transfer the pears to individual serving bowls. Sprinkle a little brandy over each. Leave to cool.

5. Pass the poaching liquid through a sieve.. Pour it back into the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer briskly for 5-8 minutes until syrupy.

6. Spoon the syrup around the pears and serve.

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