Get fruity with Bill Granger’s poached pear recipe

The humble pear is a one of the seasonal delights of British autumn and winter. Less pedestrian than the apple, more earthy than the orange and more pleasingly shaped than a blueberry (hence the proliferation of pears in still lives through the centuries; this fruit of kings has been cultivated on these shores for some 4,000 years and even has the distinction of having been name-checked by Shakespeare), the pear is one of our undisputed favourites fruits.

And as pear season reaches its finale to make way for the fruits of spring, we celebrate the curvaceous beauty by harking back to one of our favourite Bill Granger recipes. His poached pears with warm coffee sauce are absurdly, almost obscenely, good. The challenge? Get this down you without somebody shouting ‘lovely pear’…



  • For the pears
  • 4 cups cold water
  • Generous 3/4 cup fine or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 ripe pears, preferably Bosc


  • For the coffee caramel sauce
  • Scant 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 shot espresso, or 2 tablespoons very strongly brewed black coffee
  • Vanilla Ice Cream


  • Make the poached pears
  • 1. In a large saucepan, heat the water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  • 2. In the meantime, peel and core the pears, leaving the stem intact. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that they will stand upright. Add the pears to the pan of simmering liquid. Adjust the heat, if necessary, so only a stray bubble surfaces and poach the pears gently, turning occasionally, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (You can cover and refrigerate the pears in their liquid, spooning the liquid over the exposed pears once or twice a day, for up to two days. Rewarm over low heat.)
  • Make the coffee caramel sauce
  • 3. While the pears poach, place all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. (You can cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Rewarm over low heat.)
  • Serve the pears
  • 4. Remove the pears from their syrup with a slotted spoon. Place each on a serving plate, drizzle with the warm coffee caramel sauce, and add your scoop of ice cream on the side.

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