Red Wine Poached Pears Slow Cooker Recipe

December 13, 2010

These aren't beets. They're pears that have been soaked in wine, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.


for grown-ups. not for kids.

My mom's friend Carol sent me this recipe, after tasting them at an Inn in Napa, California. I can't get over how easy they were to make, and am slightly kicking myself for not making them earlier (read: before this last baby) when were entertaining much more often.

If you're looking for a dessert for New Year's Eve--this is it. Easy Fancy (again!).

The Ingredients.
serves 6
2 (29-ounce) cans pear halves (I like it that the recipe calls for canned pear halves. They are found year-round, are terribly inexpensive, and you don't have to peel anything. If you'd prefer to use "real" ones, try 6 peeled and cored pears)

1 (750-ml) bottle red wine (I used an inexpensive merlot)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
6 tablespoons sweetened whipped cream (for garnish, after cooking)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Drain pears, and plop them into your empty crock. Add the entire bottle of wine (if you are wearing a new white blouse, it'd be a good idea to put on an apron. grrr.). Stir in the sugar, being careful to not break up the pear halves. Add vanilla, and float the cinnamon stick and star anise on top. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or on high for about 2.
Serve warm in bowls with a large dollop of whipped cream.

The Verdict.

This certainly is a dessert that will warm you up on a cold night. The alcohol DOES NOT COOK AWAY.
Please eat responsibly! :-)
The sugar and vanilla really cut through the harsh bite you sometimes get with red wine--feel free to use an inexpensive table wine (not cooking wine, something you'd drink). 

Thank you, Carol, for getting this recipe for us----it's wonderful.

I have a Holiday Pear (no alcohol) recipe coming up in the next day or two---I just need to find my notes.

here's the listing of all the slow cooker desserts I've made on the site. (I think you should make cheesecake......)

Have a happy day!!

Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at December 13, 2010
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  1. Wow, these sound awesome! Must get me some star anise!!

  2. Oh yum scrummy! I think I need to make this and take it to one of our little Christmas gatherings!

  3. That sounds scrumptious! I like that you added the note about the vanilla and sugar cutting away the harsh bite because I normally don't drink red wine due to that bite. Now I've GOT to try this.... maybe on New Years Eve when my dh and I will be watching that 1st season of Alias that a dear friend just gave us for Christmas...

  4. I love this recipe and it's on my list for tonight. Also, there is no such thing as "cooking" wine. I know, evildoers out there sell something they label that way, but if you're not gonna drink it, you're surely not going to concentrate those nasty flavors into anything you'd be willing to eat. Rant over - normality returns. Love this site. Thank you!

  5. Oooo YUM! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. Infact, thanks a lot for sharing all your recipes. :0)

  6. This sounds awesomely awesome... With the exception of the anise. My husband strongly dislikes anything with anise. Would you be able to recommend a substitute? Or would it be advisable to just leave it out? Thanks for the advice!

  7. @Debbi Does Dinner Healthy: I hope you enjoy them!
    @Denise ~ paper ponderings: I think your friends will be impressed!
    @Sharon: I agree. I seem to be more of a white wine drinker lately, but did really enjoy these guys
    @Jack: LOL on the evildoers...
    @SallyB: you're welcome!
    @anonymous: sure. I don't think anyone would miss the tiny bit of licorice flavor. no problem.

  8. Whoa, I noticed you updated your table of contents! It looks great!!!

  9. These look awesome and I will be making them soon. If you haven't washed your new blouse yet, douse it with some white wine and the stain should magically disappear. I read about that from a wedding planner and when my FIL spilled red wine all over our floor it worked like a champ!

  10. OK- a couple here- with a single guest coming to visit... so 3 1/2 Qt oval cooker- just halve the recipe and would the time remain the same?? Have to buy some wine- can't wait to try it!!!

  11. hi Hope,
    yes---use 1/2 a bottle of wine and 1 can of pears.
    The cooking time will remain the same. The times listed are for a crockpot filled 2/3 to 3/4 of the way.


  12. Love your site! I can't remember if I have commented before, but I've been sharing your blog with my friends (and asked for your cookbooks for Christmas)!
    I do have some advice for your friend, she should find a Dr that specializes in tick-borne illnesses. One thing I've never quite understand is that Dr's will test to see if someone has lyme's disease, prescribe antibiotics but don't do a follow up blood test to see if the antibiotic killed all of the disease.

  13. Lovely recipe, I really have to try this! Red is my choice of wine and I love pears so it sounds like a win win dessert for sure. I'm sorry to heard about your friend's son. My cousin has Lyme Disease. Will keep them both in our prayers.

  14. These turned out very well. They were the hit of the party, thank you! =o)

  15. I want to cook your recipe for the New Year's Eve, it is easy to prepare.

  16. I just made these for a "girls" christmas party on saturday and they were, hands down, the big hit of the night. I was a little worried, because they smelled like strong red wine all day, and I thought they would be a little harsh... but they come out tasting almost like the filling of an apple pie. SOOOOOO good. And the whipped cream topping definitely is the perfect accompaniament. Just be careful not to burn your mouth by eating these too quickly out of the crock! Will definitely be making these again.

  17. My store didn't have anise seed. So I used 1 tsp. of anise extract. It was very overpowering.

  18. DO NOT attempt to combine this recipe with one for mulled wine! NOOOOO! I got all cavalier and just used the mulling spices in the same proportion that they say to on the fancy tin they came in and the pears were inedible. Waaaay too much cloves. My sister said the pears tasted like toothpaste. Then she told me to try them and actually winced as she watched me eat them. Not a total loss: we drank the wine cut with oj (still clove-y) and topped with whipped cream (well, mine had the cream; the poor deprived gluten-free vegan sister just had wine and some dark chocolate).

    (kathleenpoling AT yahoo)

  19. I realize that this is an old thread.. but curious if you think you could use Splenda in place of the sugar. I would love to try these but they way the recipe is I would be in sugar overload! That probably isn't a good thing. Thanks for any thoughts.

  20. I made this tonight and it was wonderful! I made half the recipe as it was just 3 for dinner tonight. Since I had no 2 star anise pods, I threw 4 whole cloves in. Might try for a few more next time.
    I also subbed half the sugar with Splenda and it seemed fine.

  21. I made apples done like this a couple times for Christmas dessert (didn't peel them), adding raisins to the sauce (per Dad's recipe for baked apples) and substituted cranberry juice for about half the wine (I had only bought 2 bottles and wanted enough for us to drink!!). Served with vanilla ice cream (Breyer's "vanilla bean," I think - that's our usual choice when we do dairy).
    Fantastic. Must do again.


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