How to make Walter Staib's poached pears

Walter Staib

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Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Serves: 4


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.

Walter Staib

About Walter Staib

Read more about Walter Staib here.


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