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!
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
- 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
- Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the core, leaving the stem intact. Peel a 1-inch nub of ginger.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Make the sweetened whipped cream.
- 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.
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website 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.
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 food 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.