Top | Jam, Jelly & Relish

Vanilla Poached Pears

(recipe, Ghillie James)

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I'm not a huge fan of heavy pears in red wine, but was inspired to try using pear cider, having watched a chef use it in a jelly, which he served with elderflower ice cream.


  1. 1 qt. (1 liter) alcoholic pear cider
  2. 2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  4. 2 strips of lemon zest
  5. 3 Tbsp. honey
  6. 4 lb. (1.8 kilograms) underripe pears


  1. Use mason jars for this recipe, as they can withstand the temperature required for heat treatment.
  2. Put the pear cider, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and honey into a large pan with 1 cup water. Stir, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Peel the pears and add them immediately to the pan. Cover with a piece of scrunched-up parchment paper to keep them submerged and bring back to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  4. Pack the pears tightly into jars and push down to leave space for the syrup to completely cover them. (It will be easier to fit them into bigger jars, or you can cut the pears in half lengthwise.) Fill the jars with the syrup, ensuring that all the pears are fully submerged, then place their lids on top, but do not seal.
  5. Lay a dishcloth or kitchen towel in the bottom of a roasting pan and put the warm sterilized jars on top, spacing them well apart. Add water to the pan to a depth of about ¾ inches (2 cm). Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove and carefully seal the jars with their lids while still hot.