These easy Stewed Pears are a healthy and versatile recipe to make in Winter. Cooked with Lemon, Oranges, Spices and No Refined Sugar, these fragrant poached pears are deliciously soft and packed with flavours!
Why we love this recipe
There is nothing that I love more than these quick, easy and oh so flavourful stewed pears in Winter. This healthy pear recipe is not only super simple, it is also extremely versatile.
Just like this Stewed Rhubarb in Spring or its smooth Pear Compote version, these Poached Pears can be used on their own, with yogurt or ice cream, on oatmeal, as a breakfast topping or even over a cake.
It is a great recipe if you are looking for an easy way to use lots of pears and it will fill your kitchen with delicious smells of citrus and spices. And you don't even need processed sugar to make it!
These stewed pears are made with 6 simple ingredients (plus water), but you can very much add, change or substitute some of then to try different combination.
- Pears: go for a fruit that is somewhere between unripe and ripe. A very ripe pear will quickly turn into mush in the stewing liquid while a very firm pear will take a long time to stew.
- Citrus: a combination of Lemon for a little bit of acidity and Orange for sweetness. I used both the Peels and the Juices to add lots of flavour to the poaching liquid. If you want a slightly less citrusy flavour, use the peels only.
- Maple Syrup: this natural liquid sweetener will add lots of flavour to the dish that works so well with the spices. You can adjust the quantities to make the stewed pears more or less sweet, depending on their natural sweetness and your preferences.
- Spices: Cinnamon and Star Anise (two of my favourite spices). I recommending using Sticks/Pods instead of the powdered spices that might remain on the fruit and add a grainy texture to the dish.
- Sweetener: the maple syrup can be substituted with basically any liquid sweetener like Honey or Agave Syrup. You could use White or Brown Sugar if preferred, simply insure that the sugar has dissolved in the liquid before adding the pears.
- Spices: you can really play with any of your favourite spices here - add, substitute, replace,... you could for example use Cloves, Cardamom, Nutmeg or even Ginger.
So many ingredients can be added to this recipe to make it your own. The Water can for example be replaced with (or combined with) White Wine or Red Wine like with these Red Wine Poached Pears. You can also add Vanilla if you want.
How to make Stewed Pears
Making this pear stew is seriously easy - you just need a cutting board and a saucepan!
- Photo 1: Peel and Juice the Orange and Lemon. Place in a medium size Saucepan. Add the Water, Maple Syrup, Star Anise and Cinnamon. Stir then turn on low heat.
- Photo 2: while the stewing liquid is heating up, peel the Pears, cut them in quarters (or halves) and remove the core. You can leave the peels if you preferred.
- Photo 3: leave to simmer on a low to medium low heat for 15 to 25 minutes, or until soft but still holding their shape (see tips below).
- Photo 4: use a small knife to check if the pears are ready. They should feel quite soft.
- Remove the stewed pears slices from the liquid and leave to cool down at room temperature. Once cool, store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Tips for Success
- The quantity of water needed might depend based on the size of your saucepan. The pears need to be fully covered by the liquid, so add more water if required.
- The stewing time will depend on how ripe the fruits are, the size of the pan and the temperature of the stove. Check the consistency the pears with a small knife and take out of the heat when soft (they will continue to soften slightly while cooling down).
- Keep the poaching liquid to store the pears in if you want, or continue to reduce on the stove until it turns into a syrup.
- Simply blend until smooth (or chunky) with a regular blender or immersion blender to make Pear Compote.
How to use these Poached Pears
My favourite way to use these stewed pears is over Yogurt with a little bit of Maple Syrup, some Almonds, Ground Cinnamon and a little bit of Orange Peels.
There are so many other delicious ways to enjoy these pears though, for example
- with Ice Cream
- as a topping for Pancakes, Waffles or French Toast
- with Granola or Oatmeal
- to make pastries like these Pear Frangipane Tartlets, Puff Pastry Pear Tartlets or inside a cake like this Chocolate Pear Cake.
- on their own!
Go for fruits somewhere in between firm and ripe. Very firm pears will take a long time to poach and ripe pears will quickly start to fall apart in the stewing syrup.
You need to use a pear that is naturally sweet and will hold its shape when cooked. The best pears to use for stewing are Beurre Bosc Pears, Corella Pears, Packham Pears, Anjou Pears.
Try to avoid Williams or Bartlett Pears that will quickly turn into a compote.
There is no right or wrong answer here, it all depends on how firm or soft you want the stewed pears to be!
As a general indication, the pears are ready when you can easily insert a small knife into the fruits without a resistance. The pears should feel soft.
Storing & Freezing
Once cooled down at room temperature, transfer the stewed pears into a container and place in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also use the stewing syrup to store the pears in if you want!
I do not recommend freezing these poached pears as they will fall apart when thawed.
More Pear Desserts
- Apple & Pear Crumble
- Pear Almond Cake
- Spiced Pears Muffins
- 25 delicious Pear Desserts
- Fresh Pear Pie
- Pear Crumble Cake
Made this recipe?
Let us know if you liked it by leaving a comment below, and tag us on Instagram @a.baking.journey with a photo of your creation!
Easy Stewed Pears
- 1 Orange - Juice + Peels - about 120 ml (1/2 cup) of juice
- 1 Lemon - Juice + Peels - about 20 ml (1 tablesp.) of juice
- 600 ml (2 1/2 cups) Water - see note below
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) Maple Syrup
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 3 Star Anise Pods
- 4 Pears
I highly recommend using the measurements in grams & ml (instead of cups & spoons) for more accuracy and better results.
- Roughly peel the Orange and Lemon and place in a medium size saucepan (see note 1). Juice the Orange and Lemon and add to the saucepan.
- Add the Water, Maple Syrup, Cinnamon Sticks and Star Anise Pods. Stir to combine and turn on low heat, occasionally stirring.
- While the liquid is heating up, peel the Pears, cut in quarters (or halves) and remove the core. Add to the stewing liquid.
- Leave to simmer on a low to medium low heat for 15 to 25 minutes (see note 2) or until soft. Remove the Pear slices from the stewing liquid and leave to cool down at room temperature. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days once cool (see note 3).
- Pears: I recommend using relatively unripe pears to insure the fruits will hold their shape after stewing. If you use a fruit that is too ripe, it will start to turn into a compote.
- Water: you might need more or less water, depending on the size of your saucepan. Make sure that the pears are fully covered by the liquid, adding more water if required.
- Spices: I used Cinnamon and Star Anise but you can basically use/add/substitute any spice you'd like!
- Maple Syrup: if your pears aren't too ripe or naturally sweet, you might want to increase the maple syrup quantity for a sweeter dessert.
- Try to use only the orange/lemon peel without the pith (white part) that contains most of the bitterness of the fruit.
- The time it will take for the pears to be ready will depend on the ripeness of the fruits and how soft you want them. Use a small knife to check the pears - if it feels soft, the pears are ready.
- The stewing liquid can be used to store the pears in once in the fridge if you want. Otherwise, discard the liquid, peels and spices or leave to reduce on the stove to create a syrup.