How to make Walter Staib's poached pears

How to make Walter Staib's poached pears

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes


4 people

As one of the more mild fruits, the flavor of pear can be enhanced in a multitude of ways. Baked with cinnamon for a sweet dessert or paired with blue cheese for a savory appetizer, pears have a lot of personality. But nothing shows the versatility of the pear like poaching. When poached, the crisp flesh of pear takes on a warm and buttery texture.

This recipe courtesy of  Black Forest Cuisine ©2006 by Walter Staib — Running Press Book Publishers, Philadelphia & London



  • 3 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 firm Bosc pears, peeled and stems on

Port Sabayon

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup Port
  • 4 sticks cinnamon, for garnish


Poaching the Pears

  • 1 Stir together the wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and vanilla bean in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and maintain the poaching liquid at a gentle simmer.
  • 2 Drop the pears into the poaching liquid, place a plate or piece of cheesecloth overtop to keep them submerged, and simmer until a paring knife easily pierces the bases (the thickest part) of the pears, about 15 to 20 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook the pears or they will become mushy.)
  • 3 Prepare a large bowl with ice water. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid using a slotted spoon and place immediately in the ice water to cool. Drain the cooled pears, and set aside to warm to room temperature.

To make the Sabayon

  • 1 Prepare a double boiler, making sure the water doesn’t touch the top portion, and maintain at a simmer. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and Port in the top portion and continue to whisk vigorously until thickened and foamy, about 5 minutes. (To prevent the eggs from scrambling, constantly whisk the sabayon and remove the top portion of the double boiler once or twice if it appears to be cooking too quickly.)
  • 2 To serve, stand each pear in the center of a dessert plate, trimming the bases, if necessary. Drizzle with sabayon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.


More Eat Sip Trip