The perfect Holiday dessert: Cranberry Poached Pears

I found the perfect Christmas dessert recipe on Martha Stewart’s website. Although she features it as a Thanksgiving dessert, I think it just as well fits on a Christmas menu, especially because of the colour and ingredients used.  With some small alterations, I made it my own. It’s a delightful and delicious winter treat as all the seasonal flavours come together: pears, cranberries, vanilla, and cinnamon. The blushing pear and popping red cranberries are well paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But if you want to make it even more seasonal, cinnamon or pecan-caramel ice cream are also a good option. The recipe states that you have to use tea. I used my favourite winter tea from Simon Lévelt which is a blend of a.o. rosehip, rum, cinnamon, fennel seeds, orange zest, and black tea. I would definitely recommend a winter/xmas tea blend  to bring out the flavours even more. Check my blog post  ‘Winter warmth in a cup‘ for some good choices.

Scroll down for the full recipe.


  • 8 small pears, such as Seckel or Forelle, peeled, stems intact
  • 4 tablespoons brown cane sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 large strip (4 to 5 inches) orange peel
  • 5 tablespoons orange blossom honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 3/4 cups (10 ounces) fresh cranberries
  • 1 tea bag, or loose tea in a tea egg


  1. Place pears in a saucepan large enough to hold them snugly. Add enough water to barely cover them (about 4 cups). Add sugar, cinnamon, orange peel, honey, and lemon juice. Using the tip of a paring knife, scrape vanilla seeds into pan, and toss in pod. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat, and simmer gently until pears are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add fresh cranberries, and simmer until cranberries are soft but not mushy, about 3 minutes more.
  3. Use a spoon to transfer pears to a dish. Spoon cranberries and syrup around pears. Add tea bag let cool for 15 minutes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Before serving, remove vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, orange peel, and tea bag. Transfer pears to plates or glasses with some of the cranberries, syrup, and a dollop of ice cream.

I am submitting this recipe for the November photography and styling challenge “Food in a glass” on Junglefrog’s cooking blog. Wish me luck 🙂

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3 thoughts on “The perfect Holiday dessert: Cranberry Poached Pears

  1. O lovely Louise! I really like poached pears and those flavors sound awesome. Don’t forget to also enter your link into the linky tool at the bottom of the challenge post!

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