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Poached Pears with Orange Cream

End the meal with a flourish with this easy and elegant dessert. A hint of orange lends just enough sweetness to temper the wine's bold taste. —Julianne Schnuck, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. Cook: 45 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 servings


  • 2 firm medium pears
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup dry red wine or red grape juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon orange extract
  • Additional grated orange zest, optional


  • Core pears from bottom, leaving stems intact. Peel pears; cut 1/4 in. from bottom to level if necessary. Place pears on their sides in a large saucepan. Add water, wine, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, turning once, until pears are almost tender, 35-40 minutes. (For more intense flavor and color, leave fruit in cooking liquid and refrigerate overnight.)
  • Meanwhile, combine sour cream, confectioners' sugar, orange zest and extract. Refrigerate until serving.
  • Remove pears with a slotted spoon; pat dry and, if warm, cool to room temperature. Discard cooking liquid. Place pears on dessert plates. Serve with orange cream; if desired, top with additional grated orange zest.

Test Kitchen tips
  • Using red wine in the poaching liquid will give you an intensely flavored pear with a beautiful rosy red color but you can also use a fruity white wine for a pear that is natural looking. Have leftover sparkling wine or Champagne? Use that for a lightly flavored pear. You can also use almost any fruit juice with equally spectacular results.
  • This recipe serves two, but it can easily be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled to serve everyone around your Thanksgiving table.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 each: 239 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 10mg cholesterol, 23mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate (36g sugars, 5g fiber), 3g protein.

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