Stewed pears simmered in a delightful spicy syrup with cinnamon and star anise. It is a simple dessert ready in no time and perfect for serving with ice cream, waffles, pancakes, or on its own.
Stewed pears, roasted pears, baked pears, no matter how you cook them, pears make the most wonderful autumn or winter dessert. I’ve cooked today’s simple recipe so many times, I’ve lost count of it. Why?
- So delicious: The fruit is soft and comforting, coated in that flavorful, spicy glaze.
- Healthy: Even if you make this recipe with granulated sugar, you will not need a lot of it; pears have a lot of natural sweetness. As I always use xylitol, the dessert’s effect on blood sugar is even lower.
- Quick: About 15 minutes, depending on the firmness of the fruit.
- Five ingredients only.
- Versatile: You can have them for breakfast with pancakes or oatmeal; you can serve them as a super light and healthy dessert with strained yogurt, for instance, on top of waffles or as a quick snack in between.
- Basically, you can use your favorite variety. The one thing you have to keep in mind is that the fresh pears should be somewhere between underripe and ripe. Save the really ripe ones for savoring as they are, and stay away for overripe fruit, or the dessert will turn mushy.
- In doubt, the fruit should be slightly underripe than too ripe.
- As mentioned above, you can use white sugar or the same amount of xylitol, the last mentioned having the advantage of not raising the blood sugar.
- Other sweeteners can be used instead (brown sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, honey). I recommend using sweeteners to taste, depending on the sweetness of the fruit itself and on your taste buds.
Lemon juice really elevates the flavor; I would not leave it out.
Spices: Cinnamon stick and star anise. If you like, you can use other spices instead or add different spices, for instance, a thick slice of root ginger, whole cloves, cardamom, all-spice.
- Make the syrup: Place water, lemon juice, spices, and sweetener in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat, then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is slightly glossy.
- In the meantime, prepare the fruit. Cut it into large cubes. You can peel it first if you like, but I never do (1).
- Add pears to the syrup mixture, cover, and simmer gently for about 7 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the ripeness and type of pear. The fruit should be on the soft side but not mushy; I like it when it still has a slight bite (2).
Expert Tips and FAQ
- Regard the ripeness of the fruit, firm pears will need a longer cooking time than soft ones. This is probably the best advice I can give you when stewing pears.
- Stew the pears in white wine, red wine, or mulled wine instead of water.
- Add some organic orange peel or lemon peel to the mixture.
When I cook this stewed pears recipe, I don't go looking for a particular sort; my main goal is to get firm and slightly unripe pears. However, Anjou pears, Beurre Bosc, Williams, Packham, or Corella are suitable for this recipe.
You can if you think the peel would bother you, but it will soften during cooking, and I like the slight texture contrast.
There is no way I can give an exact number of minutes; it all depends on the ripeness of the fruit, the size of the pot, the temperature, and your liking. If you like firmer fruit, don’t stew the pears for so long and the other way around.
Check with a small knife, it should easily go through a piece of pear, but it should not break it apart.
Sure. Mash the cooked pieces with a fork or blender after cooking.
You can make a big batch if you have a glut of pears. Keep leftovers refrigerated in a jar or another airtight container for 3-4 days.
- On their own, warm or at room temperature.
- With a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- On top of waffles, crepes, or pancakes.
- With Greek yogurt or strained yogurt.
- Make a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, muesli, or porridge topped with the fruit stew.
More fruit desserts:
- Stewed Apple Dessert
- Strawberry and Cream Dessert with Meringue
- Easy Puff Pastry Plum Tarts
- Black Currant Ice Cream
- Fresh Cherry Loaf Cake
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Easy Stewed Pears Recipe
- 1 lb pears 450, Note 1
- ¾ cup water 180 ml
- 3 tablespoons sweetener more to taste, Note 2
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Syrup: Place water, lemon juice, spices, and sweetener in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pears: In the meantime, cut pears into large cubes. You can peel them first if you like, but I never do.
- Simmer: Add pears to the syrup, cover, and simmer gently for about 7 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes depending on the ripeness and type of pear. The fruit should be on the soft side but not mushy.
- From underripe to ripe, but not too ripe. The cooking time depends on the ripeness of the fruit.
- I use xylitol. Sub with granulated sugar (the same amount) or any other sweetener you like to taste.