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Poached pears

This light and spicy dessert, delicately flavoured with orange and star anise, is an ideal way to use up any pears from your garden.

  • 15 minutes prep. time
  • 20–30 minutes cooking time
  • Serves 6
  • Cakes, bakes & desserts, Vegetarian & vegan
Classic poached pears dessert, with orange and star anise
Classic poached pears dessert, with orange and star anise | © National Trust


  • 6 pears
  • 200ml vegan white wine
  • 50g maple syrup
  • 6 star anise
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


Finishing it off

For extra wow factor, top with a scoop of ice cream, drizzle of cream or melted dark chocolate.

Step 1

Place the white wine, star anise, maple syrup, cloves and cinnamon into a pan. Cut fine strips of orange peel, squeeze the orange, then add the juice, peel and squeezed fruit to the pan.

Step 2

Peel the pears, cutting a little off the bottom of each pear.

Step 3

Stand the pears in the pan with the wine mix, and add sufficient water to cover them two-thirds of the way up. Bring to the boil then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and poach for around 20 minutes.

Step 4

Test the pears by pushing a knife into the widest part, it should slide in easily. Remove the pears from the poaching liquor, and set aside.

Step 5

Boil the liquid until it has reduced by 50% and thickened slightly. Add sugar if needed. Strain into a bowl, reserving the peel and star anise.


Step 6

Place a pear in the centre of a bowl, ladle over some of the poaching liquor, serve with a star anise and a few strands of the orange peel.

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