These Dutch Poached Pears (or “stoofpeertjes” as they call them here in the Netherlands) are a delicious wintertime classic. Just stew peeled pears in wine and spices for a half hour and serve!
The Dutch aren’t exactly known for their cuisine. I mean their national dish is literally mashed potatoes with kale with sausage thrown in. But when it comes to the dessert department, they know what they’re doing.
There are stroopwafels, caramel waffle cookies that are the equivalent of heaven on Earth. Then there are the poffertjes, little-puffed pancakes that they cover in powdered sugar and served on especially cold days.
Then, my friends, there are the poached pears. Soaked in red wine and spiced with the flavors of Christmas, they like to make a big batch of these and set them on the table with dinner, dessert, breakfast…whenever!
Around November, the Dutch supermarkets set out their special pear-stewing pears. These are really hard and can only be eaten after no less than 500 hours of simmering (okay, exaggerating a little, but you get the point).
I like to instead use slightly under ripe pears that are meant to be eaten raw (like conference pears) for making these poached pears. These don’t need to be cooked for as long (nor can they be cooked for long, as they will break down). This means you can whip them up in 20 minutes and eat them fresh, or set them in the fridge in their juices to continue soaking up the flavor.
Ingredients to make poached pears
- Conference Pears: Great taste without the long cooking time. Learn more about pear varieties here.
- Dry Red Wine: Use the cheap stuff here!
- Spices: Cloves, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla bring that classic cozy flavor to these stewed pears!
Making these red wine poached pears is as simply as simmering all the ingredients together until the pears are tender and full of flavor! Serve them like the Dutch do, as a side dish to winter dinners (a bit like you would serve applesauce). Or serve them as a festive dessert for your Thanksgiving or Christmas feasts!
- 6 conference pears
- 1 bottle dry red wine 750 mL, I used merlot
- 2 cups water 473 mL
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup brown sugar 100 g
- 1 vanilla bean
- Prep: Cut a small portion of the bottom of each pear off so they can sit upright. Peel the skin from each, then set aside.
- Cook: Set a large pot over medium heat and add the wine, water, cloves, cinnamon, and sugar. Split the vanilla bean down the middle, scrape the seeds into the pot, then throw the whole bean in as well. Add the pears, making sure they’re mostly covered by the wine, then cover and let gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until pears are soft.
- Serve: Serve warm and fresh, or store leftovers in the wine juice in the fridge for up to two weeks.
I first published this recipe on Amanda’s Cookin’.