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Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cream

This recipe was featured on my half hour show, P. Allen Smith Gardens. Jennifer Lusk owner of the Olive Branch in Little Rock, Arkansas demonstrated how to prepare this delicious dessert made by poaching pears in a wine sauce. The cream sauce us made with Mascarpone, which is a creamy white dessert cheese used in recipes such as Tiramisu. You can find it at specialty shops and gourmet grocery stores.


  • 4 firm pears
  • 1/2 bottle of full bodied red wine both Cabernet or Sangiovese work well
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups water

Reduction Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup wine sauce reserved from poaching the pears
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Mascarpone Cream Ingredients

  • 1 pint Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • juice and zest of one fresh lemon


  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact.
  2. Place the pears in a large heavy saucepan.
  3. Pour the wine, sugar and vanilla into the pot and add just enough water to cover the pears.
  4. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until pears are tender and have taken on a rich red color.
  5. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and set them aside to cool.
  6. Transfer 1 cup of the poaching liquid to a small saucepan and add 3 tablespoons of sugar.
  7. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil.
  8. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has thickened and reduced by about half.
  9. Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to cool for about 15 minutes.
  10. Add all of the Mascarpone Cream ingredients to a mixing bowl, then blend with an electric hand beater on medium speed until a smooth cream has formed and the sugar has been fully incorporated.
  11. To serve drop a dollop of the Mascarpone cream on the plate and place a whole pear on the cream.
  12. Drizzle the pear with the reduction sauce.