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Pomegranate Poached Pear Recipe {Share Our Holiday Table}

by Jeanette on December 14, 2010 · 23 Comments
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Pomegranate Poached Pear

Pomegranate Poached Pear

I have been wanting to try my hand at red wine poached pears, an elegant and beautiful dessert. However, many recipes call for a substantial amount of sugar and an entire bottle of red wine.

Fortuitously, as I was grocery shopping one day, I spotted a bottle of organic grape juice made from the same grapes used for cabernet sauvignon, so I thought why not try this instead of red wine, especially since grape juice is naturally sweet and about a third of the cost of an inexpensive bottle of red wine.

Organic Grape Juice is naturally sweet

To give the pears a deeper, redder color, I thought pomegranate juice would be a nice addition. Also, since pomegranate and grape juice are both naturally sweet,  I didn’t have to use any additional sugar, a big plus.

I chose warm spices for these ruby red poached pears – star anise, black cardamom, whole cloves, cinnamon and ginger. To top off these beautiful Pomegranate Poached Pears, I wanted something rich and decadent, yet healthier than mascarpone cheese or whipped cream, which is often served on the side. An Orange Cashew Cream seemed a perfect match to compliment the spices used to infuse the poached pears. Compared to mascarpone cheese, cashew cream has 1/3 less saturated fat and no cholesterol.

When I first developed this recipe and saw the end result, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The Pomegranate Poached Pears came out beautifully, tender and sweet, and the Orange Cashew Cream and pistachio nut garnish added the perfect contrast. I knew I had something special on my hands, so I have been saving this recipe for a special occasion, not quite knowing when that might be.

Well, the opportunity arose to share this unique recipe this past week when I learned of a virtual, progressive dinner, hosted by Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry, to raise awareness of childhood hunger in the U.S. during this critical holiday season. I couldn’t think of a better cause to donate my recipe to.


Over 70 food bloggers have been participating in this virtual progressive dinner over the past week, sharing their recipes for a seven course holiday meal in support of Share our Strength No Kid Hungry. Today, dessert is being served by 14 bloggers, including myself, as the last course in this progressive dinner (links to all these recipes are at the bottom of this post).

Nearly 17 million children- that’s almost one in four – face hunger in the U.S., not knowing where their next meal will come from. That is a stunning statistic! During this holiday season, when we are scurrying around buying gifts and enjoying celebratory meals with our families, I would urge you to take a few minutes to reflect on those less fortunate, including the 17 million hungry children. Please spread the word about ending child hunger, and if you find it in your heart, consider making a donation to Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry, no matter how large or small. Just $1 can connect a child to 10 healthy meals, and $25 provides 3 meals a day for a child for 3 months. Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry helped provide 4.5 million more meals to needy children in 2009.

I hope you enjoy my Pomegranate Poached Pear recipe, but even more importantly, I hope you will help spread the word on childhood hunger so we can help solve this crisis together. If you want to tweet about this campaign, please use this hashtag #NoKidHungry.

I am so pleased to be able to provide this special recipe to you, knowing that it is in support of such a worthy cause.

Pomegranate Poached Pears

Poached pears are typically poached in red wine, sugar and spices. This recipe contains no added sugar, and the spices in this recipe give it an Asian twist. The orange cashew cream is so rich and luscious, no one will even realize it’s vegan. The poaching liquid can be saved and used for another batch of poached pears.

Printable Recipe

  • 3 ripe but firm bosc pears, peeled

Poaching Liquid:

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 3 cups organic grape juice
  • zest and juice from 1 clementine orange
  • 2” piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • One 3” stick cinnamon

Orange Cashew Cream:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup clementine orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (vegan) or honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pistachio nuts and Pomegranate Seeds, for garnish as desired

Soak cashew nuts in a bowl of water for 1 hour.

Pre-soaking Cashews Ensures A Smooth, Creamy Texture

Slice the round bottom of the pear so the pears will stand up for presentation.

Cut The Bottom Off The Pears So They Stand Up
Combine poaching liquid ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Gently place pears in poaching liquid and simmer on low for 30 minutes, partially covered, turning the pears every 7 minutes to make sure the pears absorb the color evenly. The pears should be just tender (test with a toothpick or skewer).
Turn The Pears During Poaching To Ensure Even Coloring

Remove pears from poaching liquid and let pears and liquid cool.

Gorgeous Poached Pears Straight From The Pot

Pears can be served or placed in a container with the cooled poaching liquid overnight. Pears will become darker the longer they soak in the poaching liquid.

Soak Pears Overnight In Poaching Liquid For Deeper Color

If desired, you may reduce some of the poaching liquid until it is syrupy and thickened. To reduce poaching liquid, place one cup of poaching liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until it becomes syrupy and reaches the desired consistency.To make Orange Cashew Cream, place drained cashew nuts, orange juice, honey and water in a blender and blend until completely smooth.

Orange Cashew Cream is rich and decadent

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve poached pears with Orange Cashew Cream and reduced poaching liquid, garnished with pistachios and pomegranate seeds if you like. There are so many possibilities.

An elegant presentation
A Bite-Size Dessert Idea
Please take a look at all these wonderful dessert recipes from fellow food bloggers participating in Share Our Holiday Table:

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  1. This looks really interesting. I have heard of poached pears before but have never had them. I love that you helped support a great cause. Those are some alarming statistics about child hunger.

  2. Poached pears have nice tender texture, and go wonderfully with the cashew cream. The first time I tried cashew cream, I was pleasantly surprised by how creamy and rich it tasted. I am really glad to have found this organization that supports childhood hunger, such a huge need.

  3. I love this delicious and elegant idea!

  4. Thanks, these pears do make a nice presentation, either dressed up or simply served.

  5. Gorgeous dessert!

  6. What a stunning and decadent dessert. Very clever idea to use grape juice punched up with a little Pom.

  7. Thank you Maria and Carol, I'm so glad I had the chance to make these poached pears and share it for this awesome cause.

  8. Lovely idea and unlike any other I've seen for poaching pears.

  9. Thanks, most recipes call for sugar, but it's not necessary here since the pomegranate and grape juice are naturally sweet.

  10. Great dessert idea, I love the addition of the orange cashew cream accompaniment.

  11. I haven't enjoyed a poached pear since France!! I've got to try this!! Love that you didn't douse it in extra sugar!!

  12. Hi Daydreamer Desserts. The orange cashew cream really does complement the spices in the poaching liquid, and I love the creaminess.

  13. Hi Jen, Hope you have a chance to try this recipe. I was pleasantly surprised to find that no sugar was needed at all in the poaching liquid since grape juice and pomegranate juice are naturally sweet.

  14. This looks great! Share our Strength is such a good organization that does so much good.

  15. You really outdid yourself this time! What a lovely dessert, and so low in added sugar. This one’s going to get bookmarked.

  16. These looks so amazingly delicous! I can’t believe I actually have pears, pomegranates and clementines sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be poached together! Awesome coincidence and can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing :-)

  17. faublous! Congrats on being featured!

    • Thanks Alison – I was very excited that BlogHer chose to feature this recipe as I thought it was pretty unique, and wanted to share it with more people. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy dessert that is beautiful too 😉

  18. Stunning poached pear and such a worthy cause. What a great idea to use pomegranate juice to deepen the color of the pear.

    • Thanks Dara – I love it when I’m able to figure out a way to use natural foods to add sweetness and color. I was pleasantly surprised when these poached pears came out so nice and rich looking.

  19. LOVE poached pears. Simple, sweet and satisfying :)

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