White Wine Poached Pears with Roasted Almond Cream
When I need a light dessert that tastes luxurious and doesn’t include grains, oils, nuts or baking, pears poached in white wine will probably be one of my first choices. Combined with a delicious roasted almond cream that is also naturally vegan, this dessert is a pure pleasure.
White wine-poached pears are incredibly flavourful and versatile; you can eat them just as they are, or combine them with anything from thick soy yoghurt to some kind of sponge cake or smooth white chocolate cream.
The combinations are endless, depending on how rich or light you want the dessert to be. My personal favourite way to enjoy poached pears is simply eating them chilled, with some of the poaching liquid. Still, if I am making them for others, I like to add some extra kick to the whole story and make it more interesting – usually by combining the pears with a creamy element.
Ingredients for the white wine poached pears dessert
As always, I like to use ingredients that are natural, simple and as wholesome as possible to create rich and super delicious desserts. For these white wine-poached pears, you will need:
- white wine
- maple syrup
- spices (cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla)
- orange peels
- fresh ginger.
For the roasted almond and cashew cream, you will need these ingredients:
- almond butter (you can make your own with this recipe)
- oat milk
- agave syrup
- vanilla extract or ground vanilla
- shiro miso paste
- coconut oil
- cacao butter.
Choosing the pear variety that will give you the best texture when poached
When making poached pears, I like to choose a variety that is naturally more crisp and firm, rather than the softer ones. This way your pears will not fall apart or turn out mushy when cooked. Varieties like Bosc or Concorde will work great.
Keep in mind that it is better to get slightly unripe fruits for this recipe because pears do get much softer and mushier as they ripen. Unripe fruits will naturally have less sugar in them, which is actually not a bad thing at all in this case, as we will be using some sweetener to make the poaching liquid into syrup.
In this recipe, I decided to use maple syrup as a sweetener because I think it adds a really nice hint of caramel flavour which works great with the pears. If you prefer some other sweetener such as agave syrup, date syrup or coconut sugar, you can use it instead.
Wine and spices
The choice of wine is up to you. I have made this dessert with all sorts of wine – from fruity and sweet to more dry varieties, and it all worked great. My latest favourite was Istrian Malvasia – a wine with a nice combination of fruity and floral aromas.
But really, almost any type of white wine that you can get will work in this poached pears recipe. You will combine it with spices and maple syrup, so all the aromas will blend together as you cook the pears in it.
Warming winter spices such as cinnamon and ginger will work great for poaching the pears, so I would not skip them. Combined with a hint of vanilla, cardamom and orange peel, you will get a perfect aromatic treat for these cold days.
Roasted almond cream
Cashew and roasted almond cream with a hint of white chocolate and vanilla flavour will make a perfect pair to the gentle texture and almost caramel-like notes of the pears poached in white wine with spices.
A good choice of ingredients will help you achieve a super smooth texture.
Since cashews are naturally soft and have a smoother texture than most other nuts, they work great in a high-speed blender when combined with enough liquid. That is why they will usually be my first choice when I need to get a really smooth cream.
Small quantities of coconut oil and cacao butter will add to the silky texture and enhance the flavour, without making the cream too fatty. Still, if you avoid oils altogether, feel free to leave them out and use only cashews and plant milk.
Since everything is better when made from scratch, you can use this recipe to make your own oven-roasted almond butter and use it in the almond and cashew cream that you will make for this dessert.
If you don’t have that much extra time on your hand, make sure that you purchase a smooth, well-blended almond butter made from 100% almonds. Using almond butter instead of almonds is a great way to achieve the perfect, flawlessly creamy consistency.
Poaching and storing the pears
Once cooked, the poached pears can be kept in the fridge in a closed container, submerged in the poaching liquid or in the syrup if you decide to make it by reducing the liquid. They should last for a week for sure, but to be honest, I never managed to keep them for longer than five days – they would all have vanished by then.
The same goes for the cashew and almond cream. It should be perfectly fine for five days when kept in a closed jar in a fridge. I never got to test it for longer than that, but it can possibly last even longer (you can always try it first; if the taste is alright, there is nothing to worry about).
Reasons to fall in love with this dessert
This poached pear dessert is a fantastic choice if you’d like to impress your guests. There are so many more great things about it – besides being super creamy, rich in flavour and gentle in texture, it is also grain-free, gluten-free and vegan.
For me, it almost feels like a rest, a sweet holiday (you can laugh if you want), when a dessert doesn’t contain grains. We are quite used to having all kinds of cereals as main ingredients in desserts nowadays – just substitute the wheat with various combinations of oats, millet, buckwheat or rice for a healthier and more nutritious option…
It is amazing to have so many options, but still, nothing can surpass the gentle smoothness of creamy desserts – especially when you know that they do not contain any refined or harmful ingredients… OK, that is just a personal preference, but who’s with me??
Now, to stop annoying you already with this poorly written dessert poetry (only from the heart though), let’s finally get to those pears.
White Wine Poached Pears with Roasted Almond Cream
- 5 middle-sized pears (about 800 g)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 smaller cinnamon sticks
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1 small vanilla pod
- zest of 1 orange (peeled, not shredded)
- 2-3 cm of fresh ginger
- 1 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup oat milk
- 1/3 cup agave syrup
- 1 pinch ground vanilla
- 1 tsp light miso paste
- 5 tbsp roasted almond butter
- 5 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 3 tbsp melted cacao butter
- Peel the pears, cut them in halves and scoop the parts with the seeds.
- In a large pot, combine the wine, water, maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, vanilla and orange zest.
- Stir it well and put on a stove over a medium heat.
- Put the pears inside, cover the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest possible, and let it simmer in a closed pot for about 30 minutes, or until the pears are nice and tender.
- Remove the pot from the heat. At this point, you can remove the pears and cook the liquid with spices for a bit longer without the lid to reduce the water content and make it thicker and more syrupy. Then strain the liquid to remove the spices. You can also skip this step if you prefer to have it more watered-down.
- Transfer the pears and the liquid into a closed container and put in the fridge to cool down.
- To make the cream, put the cashews, almond butter, oat milk, coconut oil, cacao butter, miso, vanilla and agave syrup into a blender and blend as long as you need to get a perfectly smooth cream.
- Transfer the cream into a jar, cover with a lid and put in the fridge to cool down and thicken.
- Once both the pears and the cream have chilled, you can assemble the desserts - spread some cream inside a bowl, put the pear on top and pour some of the poaching syrup on top.
- Optionally, garnish with roasted almonds.
* choose a pear variety that is naturally more crisp and firm, rather than the softer ones.
* I only remove the seeds from the pears if I am making this dessert for guests, for a catering or in a restaurant. Personally, I like to eat the seed part too, so a more casual version would be to just cut the pears in half.
* I cut them in half because I use a wide, shallow pot. If you have a deeper, narrower pot, you can also leave the pears whole. Just don't skip the peeling part, because they need to absorb the flavours from the cooking liquid.
* this time I used Istrian Malvasia wine with fruity and floral aromas, but any type of wine will work.
* maple syrup works great in this recipe because of the caramel notes in its flavour, but if you prefer some other kind of sweetener - feel free to substitute.
* when I strain the cooking liquid, I like to save the spices and use them to make a tea - just boil them in water for a minute or two, turn the heat off, add some rooibos or black tea and there you go - a delicious winter brew.
* feel free to double the whole amount of ingredients for the cream; I made this quantity because I prefer to have a bit less cream and more pears. If you prefer it the other way round, just increase the amount.
* miso paste will enrich the flavour even more, but if you don't have it - don't worry, it is not a big deal if you leave it out.
* I like to use my home-made almond butter, but you can also go for the store-bought. Just make sure to get a smooth and natural one.
* If you have enough time, it is the best if you let both the pears and the cream set in the fridge overnight. That way the cream will thicken properly, and the pears will cool down completely while still absorbing some of the flavour from the liquid.