(Chicago) – A few weeks back I hosted a “thank you” dinner for a couple of my friends for helping in my apartment purchase.  I prepared some very special appetizers and entrée for them but I did not plan for a dessert. I realized, on the last minute, that getting some sweets in the nearby grocery would ruin the whole dinner repertoire.  Why not make a simple dessert using the ingredients I already have in my kitchen?  I have some pears which I regularly bring to office for lunch and my wine cabinet never runs dry of Riesling. Now, it’s all set for my poached pear dessert.

This dish is adapted from Alton Brown’s vanilla poached pears recipe.


  • 1 750-ml bottle of Riesling
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 medium pears
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cherries for garnishing


  1. Put wine, water, sugar and vanilla extract in medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat
  2. Core the pears from the bottom.  
  3. Turn the heat to medium-low, put the pears, cover and cook for 30 minutes until tender
  4. Remove the pears, place them upright in a serving dish and chill in the refrigerator.
  5. Turn the heat to high to reduce the liquid to 1 cup for another 30 minutes. Do not let the syrup turn brown.
  6. Put the syrup in a container and chill in the refrigerator.
  7. Spoon sauce over pear to serve.  Garnish with cherries.



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