Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce


Baskets of bright, fresh sweet raspberries from “Bountiful Baskets,” (a grassroots, all volunteer, food Co-op that distributes produce baskets at a substantial savings) led to more than a few raspberry desserts this week (Balsamic Berries, Gelo di Prosecco).

After tossing them in salads, I still had enough left to make a raspberry sauce to spoon over vanilla gelato.

Staring at the fruit bowl, I decided to poach the pears to go with the last of the sauce.

Both the pears and the sauce can be made in advance and will keep (stored separately) for several days, so you can serve a beautiful, healthy, light dessert on a moments notice.

You may also enjoy Marsala-Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cream.


  • 2 cups raspberries
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1/3 cup Marsala
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 pears (firm but ripe)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups pears juice (or water)
  1. For the sauce, place rinsed berries in a food processor, blend until pureed. Taste for sweetness, add sugar as desired. (At this point you could remove the seeds by pressing through a sieve … I do not).
  2. In a small saucepan, add the berries, Marsala and sugar. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, simmer (uncovered) until berries are the consistency of sauce (about 15-20 minutes). Stir occasionally. Chill.
  3. (To make this sauce when fresh raspberries are not available, use frozen. You’ll need to adjust the sugar accordingly).
  4. For the pears, peel, leaving stems in tact. Using an apple corer or paring knife, remove the core from the bottom end. If necessary, cut a thin slice off the bottom of the pears so they’ll stand upright. Squeeze lemon juice over each pear (prevents browning).
  5. In a saucepan, (snug enough to hold the pears upright, deep enough to submerge in liquid) bring pear juice (or water) to a boil. (If you’re using water only, add 1 tablespoon of sugar).
  6. Carefully, stand the pears in the pot, (add additional water to cover pears if necessary). Return to boiling, then reduce heat, cover and cook until tender. Depending on the ripeness of the pears this could be 8-10 minutes or longer.
  7. Cool the pears in their poaching liquid. Transfer pears to a storage container, pour the liquid over them, cover and chill in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

To serve, spoon some of the sauce on a dessert plate, set a pear on top (this is why you sliced a bit off the bottom, so it would stand upright).

Carefully, spoon a bit of sauce over the top of each pear. The raspberry sauce actually stays in place, slowly dripping down the pear … bella pera!



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