An easy and elegant fall dessert, pears are poached in dry white wine and a delicious bouquet of vanilla, orange, cinnamon, and a pinch of saffron. Serve it simply, with a dollop of lightly sweetened saffron whipped cream on the side.

Martha Stewart Living, October 2020


Credit: Gentl and Hyers

Recipe Summary

25 mins
3 hrs 15 mins
Serves 4


Poached Pears
Saffron Whipped Cream


Instructions Checklist
  • Poached Pears: Core pears from bottoms, using a small melon baller or measuring spoon to scoop out seeds. Cut a round of parchment to fit inside a medium saucepan.

  • Place pears in pan along with wine, sugar, orange juice and zest, cinnamon, saffron, and enough water to mostly cover pears (about 3 cups). Add vanilla seeds, then pod. Cover with prepared parchment round.

  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, turning pears occasionally to keep them covered with liquid, until tender (easily pierced with the tip of a knife) but not falling apart, 12 to 15 minutes, depending on ripeness and size. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a large bowl; cover with parchment round from pan.

  • Remove and discard vanilla pod and cinnamon. Bring poaching liquid to a boil and cook until reduced to a thin syrup, 25 to 30 minutes (you should have 1 to 1 1/2 cups). Pour syrup over pears and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

  • Saffron Whipped Cream: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup cream and saffron over medium until just barely bubbling around edges. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl; add remaining 3/4 cup cream. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Add sugar and beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

  • Serve pears whole or halved in shallow bowls, with syrup and saffron whipped cream.