Poached Pears with Pecan Granola and Whipped Cream

Poached Pears with Pecan Granola and Whipped Cream | A Couple Cooks

Poached Pears with Pecan Granola and Whipped Cream | A Couple Cooks

And, for the final recipe on our Thanksgiving menu – poached pears! Like many recipes on our blog, this one was born out of failure. We tried sooo many things, you guys: a pear and chocolate crumble, a butternut squash and dark chocolate galette, an apple rosette tart like this super-easy looking one on Pinterest, a pumpkin cheesecake using only Greek yogurt. Flops, every one of them.

Then came an idea of poached pears, an alternative Thanksgiving dessert. I wasn’t convinced: Do they seem too fancy? Too healthy? Don’t people want pumpkin for Thanksgiving? Or at least something in a pie form? 

I still have those lingering questions, but we ran out of time and more importantly, this recipe is actually really, really delicious. So, here are a few reasons to give a poached pear a try:

  • It almost tastes like pie. Imagine sweet and lightly citrusy warm pear combined with crunchy, cinnamon-spiced toasted oats and fluffy whipped cream. It’s like pie, heavier on the filling and lighter on the crunchy crust.
  • You can skip rolling out dough and taking up precious oven space. Compared to a pie, this is a piece of cake (ha!). But really, it’s fairly simple to put together compared to a pie.
  • You already have wine open. It’s Thanksgiving! Any old red wine will do, boxes included.
  • It’s seriously good for you. We know pumpkin is a vegetable, but pumpkin pie? Poached pears are near the top of the list as a healthy dessert. We’ve tried to keep the sugar content to a minimum, but enough for a sweet and fulfilling bright spot after a big meal.

What do you think – would you try poached pears at Thanksgiving?

PS Here’s a *new* page with our entire Thanksgiving menu!

Thanksgiving 2014
Pomegranate Cider Spritzer
Stuffed Delicata Squash with Wild Rice, Brown Butter and Sage
Garlic and Chive Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino and Pecans
Massaged Kale Salad with Apple and Pomegranate
Poached Pears with Pecan Granola and Whipped Cream

Check out our Thanksgiving Pinboard for more ideas. And don’t forget our *new gift shop* for Thanksgiving cooking tools and holiday gift ideas! 


Poached Pears with Pecan Granola and Whipped Cream

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  • 4 Bosc pears, ripe but firm
  • 1-inch nub of ginger
  • 1 ½ cups dry red wine (for example, Merlot)
  • 1 small orange (juice and zest)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Sweetened whipped cream


  1. Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the core, leaving the stem intact. Peel a 1-inch nub of ginger.
  2. In a large skillet, combine ginger, 1 ½ cups red wine, juice and zest of 1 small orange, 1 ½ cups water, 4 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves, and ¼ cup sugar. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved, then add the pears. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until tender (depending on ripeness), occasionally turning to ensure a consistent color.
  3. When tender, remove the pears and continue to reduce the liquid to about ½ cup, then reserve the red wine reduction sauce. (Make ahead tip: make the pears up to this point and store them refrigerated for a few days. To reheat for serving, heat pears and sauce in a baking dish in the oven at 350°F until warm.)
  4. For the granola, melt 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil in a skillet, then add 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup crushed pecans, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and toast for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cook until the sugar melts and the oats are golden brown, about 4 more minutes, watching carefully so that it doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat and store in an airtight container.
  5. Make the sweetened whipped cream.
  6. To serve, spread some granola on a plate, then top with a pear half and sweetened whipped cream, then drizzle with red wine reduction sauce.


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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    November 19, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I think this is the perfect dessert after a heavy meal – light enough not to weigh you down but full of flavour. The sprinkle of granola is such a good way to provide some crunch too.

  • Reply
    Thea @ Baking Magique
    November 19, 2014 at 10:04 am

    This looks so beautiful! I recently had an allergic reaction and thought I’d never eat pears again. But yesterday my test results came back and showed negative! So now I can eat pears again and I might try this recipe :)

  • Reply
    Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth
    November 19, 2014 at 10:43 am

    What a beautiful dessert! Poached pears are such a treat — perfect for the holidays.

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    November 19, 2014 at 10:49 am

    You make a very convincing case for why we should all have poached pears this Thanksgiving. Not to mention this looks absolutely lovely. The yellow place mats are a gorgeous background too.

  • Reply
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    November 19, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Well these are just gorgeous for the holidays! Love the idea of doing a simple, classic dessert!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy
    November 19, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Your Thanksgiving is perfection :)

  • Reply
    November 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    This sounds like a perfect dessert for a feast like Thanksgiving. I like that it is light as well as flavorful. Definitely a recipe I’m saving for a special occasion.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Such a simple and gorgeous dessert. I think I might swap the whipped cream for marscapone (just had a version like that at one of my favorite restaurants). Can’t wait to try this on!

  • Reply
    Valentina @Hortus
    November 21, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Hi guys! I’ve been following your thanksgiving posts with a lot of interest – you sure pulled out a gorgeous one! Sure enough, your house is definitely one I’d hope to be invited over for Thanksgiving…Hope this holiday is gonna be awesome! These pears look fantastic. I almost feel like having one for breakfast… :D

  • Reply
    Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen
    November 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

    This is amazing! So in love with it. We’re not celebrating Thanksgiving here in Scandinavia but this would make an equally lovely dish for any Christmas party. Will definitely bookmark this for the coming weeks.

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