Spiced poached pears – a dessert with health benefits

A dinner party to celebrate a special occasion needs a beautiful dessert. So, to celebrate my 9th anniversary I made spiced poached pears. Poached pears are so simple to make and it is a gorgeous dessert that will complement any dinner party beautifully. This recipe was inspired on Jamie Oliver’s saffron-poached pears. Pears are high in fibre, good source of vitamins and minerals. The combination of spices make a fragrant and flavorful syrup. These spices provide vitamins, minerals and many health benefits:

  • Star anise has antioxidant and antimicrobial effects, improves digestion,  and helps to increase breast milk production for nursing women.
  • Saffron is an amazing spice which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant effects.
  • Cardamom is botanically related to ginger. It contains high levels of flavonoids which boost antioxidant enzymes in the body, improve digestion, anti-bacterial, reduce blood pressure, and help to prevent blood clots.
  • Cinnamon is well known to increase glucose metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels. Cinnamon assists to decrease triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels.
  • Vanilla has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties.

Spiced poached pears

Leuza Kyne
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 55 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 4 people


  • 4 medium Beurre Bosc pears peeled
  • 1 litre water
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2-3 cinnamon twills
  • 5 cardamom pods split
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads
  • Crème Fraiche or coconut yoghurt to serve (optional)


  • Add 1 litre of water to a large saucepan and bring to low heat.;Add honey, whole cinnamon twills, whole star anise, vanilla paste, split cardamom pods and saffron threads
  • Add peeled pears in the water with the spices and honey and let them simmer on low heat for 90* minutes. Turn the pears side down 45 minutes into the cooking time, and let them poach for another 45 minutes.
  • Test the pears by inserting a skewer through its centre. The skewer should insert easily without resistance but the pears should still feel firm (do not let them overcook and become too soft).
  • Remove the pears from the spiced sauce and keep them aside.; Turn the heat to medium and let the spiced sauce reduce for another 15-20 minutes to a consistency close to a syrup. You should have 150-200ml of syrup to serve with the pears.
  • Serve each pear with 2-3 tablespoons syrup and a dollop of coconut yogurt or crème Fraiche (naturally fermented dairy cream). Enjoy!


The amount of time needed to poach the pears will vary according to their size. Small pears should be poached within 60-70 minutes. Medium pears within 90 minutes. Allow an extra 15 minutes for large pears.;The syrup has a thin consistency. I find 3 tablespoons of honey produce quite a sweet syrup for my liking. I have made this recipe using ¼ cup of honey (4-5 tablespoons) of honey and found the syrup too sweet. ;My suggestion: to have an idea of how sweet your syrup will be, you may test the sweetness by adding 3 tablespoons of honey to 200ml water (how much syrup you will have once it has reduced). Taste and decide if you would like some extra honey.

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