Poires au Vin Rouge

Pears in Red Wine and Lemon Juice

One of the easiest desserts to prepare. You can make it ahead of time and all the ingredients are often at hand. Quickly made, impossible to do poorly, always delicious. Serve it warm or chilled with petits biscuits aux noix.


  • 6 large, ripe, firm pears
  • 1 lemon
  • rind of 1 orange
  • 2 cups strong red wine (California Burgundy is good)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh strawberry or raspberry purée (see Purée de Fruits Frais) or 2 tablespoons preserves
  • sprigs of mint or a handful of mint leaves
Peel and core the pears. Wash and dry the lemon and orange, and with a potato peeler, remove the rind, taking care to peel off only the zesty surface. With kitchen shears, cut the orange rind and half of the lemon rind into fine strips. Squeeze the lemon and reserve the juice.

Simmer the wine, sugar, and rind in a heavy pan, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the pears and simmer, covered, for 35 to 45 minutes, basting from time to time and turning gently with a wooden spoon so that they cook and color evenly. Prick with a thin skewer to test for doneness. The pears should be tender but not mushy. Remove them with a wooden spoon and put in a serving dish. Add the fruit purée or preserves to the wine and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and pour over the pears. Or you may discard the wine syrup and simply serve the pears in fresh fruit purée. The pears may also be sprinkled with sugar and caramelized under the broiler before serving. Garnish with fresh mint.