This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
These poached pears are an easy, elegant dessert for any occasion. They're simmered in a sweet Amaretto syrup and served with whipped cream or mascarpone cheese. With just three ingredients, they're simple to make, and they're ready in just 30 minutes!
Poached pears are one of those classic desserts that seem to get reserved for the most special occasions. While they're definitely elegant enough for fancy dinners, they're also easy enough to make as a mid-week treat.
These Amaretto poached pears are juicy and filled with a sweet almond flavor. You don't need any special skills or tools to make them, and it's a great recipe that you can prepare ahead of time.
Feel free to customize your liquid with ginger, vanilla, a cinnamon stick, cloves, or even swap the sugar for honey. These poached pears are perfect around the holidays, or as a light-tasting end to any delicious meal!
What are poached pears?
Poaching pears originated in wine-growing regions of France as a way to consume fruit that was not ripening. This classic french dessert is prepared by gently simmering peeled pears on the stovetop in a simple syrup of sugar and water, often flavored with wine and other spices.
What is Amaretto?
Amaretto is a bittersweet Italian almond-flavored liqueur. It's most often made from apricot kernels, but is also sometimes made from peach stones or almonds. Its name comes from the Italian words amaro which means ‘bitter' and etto meaning ‘little', translating to “little bitter”.
It can be sipped on its own over ice or mixed into cocktails to add sweet, nutty notes. Because of its smooth taste, it's often used in boozy coffee drinks, creamy cocktails, and martinis. It also adds flavor to sweet desserts
Poached pear ingredients
You only need three simple ingredients to make this poached pears recipe. Here's what you need:
- Pears – winter pears are perfect for poaching because they don't ripen the same as they do in the summer. We tend to use bosc pears or anjou pears because they hold their shape when cooked. Avoid bartlett pears because they tend to soften too much.
- Amaretto – any type of Amaretto will work for this recipe. Most Amarettos are moderately priced and widely available.
- Light brown sugar – light brown sugar adds the right amount of sweetness, and a lovely caramel taste to the syrup.
How to make these poached pears
This amaretto poached pear recipe is so elegant and easy to make! It's the perfect light dessert for dinner parties and special occasions through the winter months.
Here's how to make a poached pear in a couple of simple steps:
- Peel the pears and remove the cores from the bottom using a paring knife.
- Find the right size pot to fit all the pears, then add the amaretto and brown sugar to make the syrup. Bring it to a boil, add the pears, and simmer until they soften. Remove the pears and set them aside.
- Now it's time to reduce the liquid to make a delicious syrup. Increase the heat and simmer until it turns into a thick syrup. You'll have about a half cup of liquid left.
- Serve the pears with a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone cheese and a drizzle of the amaretto sauce. Yum!
Make ahead instructions
Absolutely you can make these ahead of time! Some even say these poached pears taste better the next day. If you're planning on making them ahead of time, skip the step to reduce the poaching liquid and store the pears in the syrup in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When you're ready to serve them, first heat up the poaching liquid and then add the pears to gently warm them. Remove them from the liquid, and set them aside to reduce the amaretto syrup.
What to serve with poached pears
Enjoy these poached pears for dessert alongside a dollop of freshly whipped cream, mascarpone cheese, crème fraîche, or vanilla ice cream.
Because the greatest desserts can acceptably be eaten for breakfast, enjoy leftover poached pears in porridge, stirred into yogurt, with pancakes or waffles, or sliced up on sourdough with some ricotta cheese throughout the holiday season, and beyond!
How can I reheat any leftovers?
To reheat any leftovers, thin the syrup with a splash of water or a little more amaretto. Then, gently reheat the pears in the liquid over medium heat.
Can I use brown sugar or muscovado sugar?
The main difference when using a dark brown sugar like muscovado is the color of the syrup will be much darker. It will also have a richer taste with hints of molasses.
Are poached pears healthy?
Poached pears are simply fruit cooked in syrup with a bit of sugar. While we can't exactly call them healthy, they're relatively low in calories (without the whipped cream or mascarpone cheese), and the pears keep their fiber and many of their nutrients.
- 6 pears
- 1 ½ cups Amaretto
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Optional: whipped cream or mascarpone (to serve)
- Peel the pears and gently remove the core from the bottom with a paring knife or a small spoon.6 pears
- Bring the Amaretto and brown sugar to a boil in a pot just big enough to fit the pears. Add the pears, lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn pears every few minutes to ensure all sides of the pears absorb some of the Amaretto flavor. Remove pears and set them aside.1 ½ cups Amaretto, 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Increase the heat to high and boil the amaretto, uncovered, until it is reduced to ½ cup.
- To serve, stand a pear in the middle of a plate. Drizzle with reduced Amaretto sauce over the top and add a dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone cheese beside the pear.Optional: whipped cream or mascarpone
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.