Try something a little different this Christmas.


  • 6 firm, green pears (slightly under–ripe with stalks)
  • 120 g caster suger
  • 280 ml red wine
  • 140 ml port
  • 8 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange


  • Peel the pears and take a thin slice off the bottom of each so that you can stand it upright.
  • Place the pears Into a high-sided saucepan that will hold them tightly, it should not be deep enough for them to float.
  • Put all the other ingredients into the saucepan and top up with water to reach just below the pear stalks.
  • Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Poach for 30-45 minutes, or until the pears are tender. How long this takes will depend on their variety and ripeness
  • Leave to cool slighty, then carefully remove the pears to a shallow dish.
  • Bring the syrup to the boil again and reduce until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
  • Allow the syrup to cool and pour it over the pears.
  • Chill. Spooning the syrup over the pears from time to time.

More by Derry Clarke:

Find recipes by keyword:

baking christmas irish entertaining desserts and sweets the afternoon show