Poached Pears in Sagrantino Wine

This is one of the recipes I will be featuring in my “A Taste of Umbria” class this coming week, while I’m away in Albuquerque. It’s adapted from Mary Ann Esposito’s Ciao Italia in Umbria cookbook.

Poached Pears in Sagrantino Wine
Sagrantino is a wonderful fruity wine from Umbria. When paired with the sweetness of poached pears, it makes for a wonderful dessert. If you can’t find Sagrantino, Barbera makes a suitable substitute.

4 servings


4 slightly ripe Anjou, Williams, or Bartlett pears (I’m partial to Anjou)
4 cups Sagrantino wine (or another full bodies fruity Italian wine)
¾ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Zest and juice of 1 lemon


Peel and core the pears, leaving the stems intact. If necessary, slice a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that it stands up on its own. Place the pears in a small saucepan that will fit them without crowding, but without allowing them to drift around. Add the Sagrantino wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon zest and juice. Be sure that the pears are covered. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until tender. A knife should be able to easily penetrate the pear. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and allow to cool.

While the pears are cooling, boil the wine until it is reduced by half. Set aside.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise, and use a small spoon to remove the inner core and seeds. Place two halves on each of 4 individual serving plates. Drizzle a little of the reduced wine over the top of each dish and serve.

You may also wish to serve the pears whole, standing on the plate.

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