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a pair of pear recipes

Recipe: pear ice cream and wine poached pears

It’s the right time for pears. I enjoy pears, but the fruit carries some baggage for me. In Chinese, the word for pear is a homophone of the word to split or to leave. My grandmother and mom never allowed splitting a pear between two people (for fear that you would be separated). However, splitting among three or more is okay. I never quite understood all of it, but they scared me so much with their superstitions that I follow it (and many others) to this day. I even consulted with my grandmother to find out if it was okay for us to share a pear with the dog. She gave it some consideration and concluded that yes, it was okay, since the dog is part of our family and that makes three.

About nine years ago, I was in Argentina for field work and the whole team was in camp together for one night. We usually paired off and only met up in town for supplies, downloading data, and meeting with local geologists. Ben and I dropped by a grocery store en route to camp and I picked up some ingredients for dessert to follow the asado. I made poached pears in red wine sauce and served it with vanilla ice cream (which I kept cool by tying the carton in a plastic bag and chucking it into a freezing cold stream on a leash). It was suprisingly good, but I think everything tastes better in the backcountry. Seeing pears on sale at the store stirred up those old memories.

First I made some ice cream – pear ice cream. Now with my copy of The Perfect Scoop in hand, I dabbled with DL’s pear and pecorino ice cream. Fruits like pear and lychee have such subtle and almost flowery flavors that they beg to be made as ice cream.

probably too much pear, now that i think of it

we definitely want a custard base (because i love it)

I omitted the pecorino because I didn’t have any. I upped the amount of pear and custard, but I think less pear might have lent to a creamier texture. It turned out more like a hybrid ice cream and sorbet – which is good, but not what I was shooting for. So that was made with bartlett pears. Today, I picked up some bosc pears for poaching.

a more elegant shape for poaching


I couldn’t decide on a recipe, so I wung it and tossed in what sounded good for the wine sauce. This is where two buck chuck comes in handy. I know Julia says to never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink, but my tastes aren’t that discerning and I’m not made of money (what a concept).

sugar, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, and vino

simmer for 45 minutes

The pear ice cream with the poached pears tasted nice and fruity – light. I think a rich vanilla is still my preference to eat with the poached pear. I have to wonder how the pear and pecorino would have been with a wine sauce. It just sounds like a perfect combination despite the fact that I don’t dig on cheese too much. Always fun to experiment.

a pear pair

Pear Ice Cream
[print recipe]
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

4 ripe bartlett pears, peeled and cored
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Cut pears into 1/2-inch pieces. Cook with water in a medium saucepan, covered, over medium heat stirring occasionally until cooked, about ten minutes. Remove pears from liquid. Purée in food processor until smooth. Warm half-and-half and sugar in a medium saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour warm half-and-half mixture into egg yolks while whisking constantly, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Stir over medium heat scraping the bottom until mixture thickens and reaches nappe consistency. Strain the custard into a bowl over an ice bath and mix in the lemon juice and the pear. Stir until cooled. Chill thoroughly in refrigerator and then freeze according to your ice cream maker instructions.

Wine-Poached Pears

5 bosc pears, peeled with stem on
2 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1 tsp orange peel

Combine all ingredients except the pears in a medium to large saucepan. Dissolve sugar over medium heat. Add pears on their sides to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes, flipping pears at 22 minutes. Remove pears from sauce. Boil the sauce until it bubbles up and remove from heat. Let sauce cool. Drizzle sauce over pears and serve with something creamy (whipped cream, ice cream…)

11 nibbles at “a pair of pear recipes”

  1. Jennie says:

    Goregous! I think I’ll try this with some of the sweet asian pears I’ve been getting at the farmers market. Thanks for a lovely recipe!

  2. Deborah says:

    This looks like such an elegant combination! I was never much of a pear fan growing up, but the older I get, the more I like them!

  3. Hillary says:

    Wow what a great pairing! The poached pears really took on the color of that wine, didn’t they? Just beautiful!

  4. peabody says:

    Very beautiful. I use poached pears in salad often but rarely as desset….not sure why.

  5. jenyu says:

    Jennie – neat idea, I’ve never tried it with asian pears before.

    Deborah – I was the same way. I always preferred oranges as a kid.

    Hillary – the outer 1/4 inch of the pear turned that dark wine color, but the inside was still pear colored :) Maybe I should have let them simmer a lot longer?

    Peabody – never had them in a salad before, but that sounds really good, perhaps with some goat cheese and roasted beets on arugula?

  6. 1957 cowgirl says:

    O my gosh..what a website. I’ve been drooling for the last 45 minutes…I wanted to post a comment on each and every recipe that I’ve perused so far, but this one made me stop reading so that I could write. I moved from warm, sunny and you-can-find-whatever-you-want-in-Los Angeles to cold, sometimes sunny and never-any-good/fresh-produce-unless-you-grow-it-yourself Minnesota. In my back yard are 3 large and very old fruit trees. 2 are pear and one is apple. The first year I was here I had No Idea what to do with all those pears. My horses got tired of them and so did I! Last year I put a bunch up and tried out alot of recipes, one of which was poached pears with cranberry juice instead of wine. YUM! (The insides don’t get that pale pink either, but I rather like the contrast). Now I find an ICE CREAM recipe! I’ve died and gone to heaven..THANK YOU—from me AND the

  7. jenyu says:

    cowgirl – This ice cream recipe is alright. I’m still on the fence about it. Not as creamy as I had hoped, so if you want a more grainy-fruity style, then this might suit you. I’m jealous that you have fruit trees in your yard! (although I too used to live in So Cal, and *really* miss the dirt cheap produce there). Ever tried pear brandy? I’d be curious to make that if I had a plethora of pears at my hand :)

  8. Roger Humphreys says:


    Jenny I so love the picture of the 5 bosc pears. I have just started to do pastels about 10 months ago and would like to copy that photo of the 5 pastels. The picture would not ever be for sale but I would like to do things properly and wish for your permission to copy, as I belive you have copyright.

    Thank you


  9. Sarah says:

    Great pictures! I just made this recipe (with comice pears) from The Perfect Scoop – with the cheese, and I wouldn’t recommend it… I used a high quality pecorino, and it was really salty and overpowering. The pears & cheese tasted great together before the ice cream – but salty cheese with sweet cream wasn’t my thing.

  10. jenyu says:

    Roger – not sure how I missed this, but go for it!

    Sarah – yes, I was thinking the same thing – the pears and cheese are awesome, but… not with the cream and sugar. Thanks for the info!

  11. Kirsa says:

    These are simple, and look very elegant. You can’t really mess up this recipe either !
    Truly a jewel. I still have to try out the ice cream however !

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