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HOLIDAY RECIPE: Poached Pears With A Pistachio Cloak

[1] Pears poached in port and red wine, with a “cloak” of pistachios (photo © Santauri Restaurant | Los Angeles).

[2] Make the recipe with Bartlett (above) or Bosc pears (photo © Good Eggs).

[3] Bosc pears (photo © Good Eggs).

[4] Add some pomegranate arils to the plate for holiday color (photo © Good Eggs).

Fresh Mint
[5] Add some green to the red arils (photo © Good Eggs).

[6] The pears are poached in ruby port, which is also a great pairing with the dessert (photo © Sandeman).


When we saw this poached pear recipe, we knew we wanted to make it for the holidays, accented with some red raspberries and green mint.

It’s a welcome alternative to heavier desserts at the end of a Christmas dinner or other seasonal celebration.

The recipe is courtesy of Executive Chef Brendan Mica at Santauri restaurant in Los Angeles.

A beautiful, light and airy venue, Santuari serves California cuisine with Mediterranean accents inside the historic Toluca Lake Tennis Club.

Rich in history, the space, which is opposite Warner Bros Studio, was once frequented by stars such as Johnny Carson, Clint Eastwood and Farrah Fawcett. (If you’re in the area, take the studio tour and then have lunch.)

The food: Beautiful!

This recipe needs to be made a day in advance. Poaching pears is easy, you can split the labor by making the candied pistachios the day before the pears.

There is also a surprise mascarpone filling.

Add a red and green holiday garnish with pomegranate arils and mint leaves.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale with metric measurements, the conversions are easy to find online.

Ingredients For 8 Servings

For The Candied Pistachio Cloak

  • 600g pistachio nuts
  • 453g powdered sugar
  • 400g water
  • 3g kosher salt

    1. BRING all the ingredients to a boil and reduce by half. Discard the liquid.

    2. DEEP FRY and allow to cool. Once cool, chop 2/3 of the candied pistachios in a food processor. They should have a sand-like consistency. Reserve the remaining whole pistachios to garnish the plates.
    For The Pears & Poaching Liquid

  • 8 Bartlett or Bosc pears
  • 750ml ruby port wine
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 112g wildflower honey (substitute clover honey)
  • 87g raw sugar
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cardamom
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 whole fennel seeds
  • Peel from 1 lemon peel (no pith)

    1. MAKE the poaching liquid. First toast all spices in a tall flat-bottom pot. Once fragrant, remove from the flame and add the port and red wine. Add the sugar and honey and bring to a simmer (do not boil). While the liquid is heating…

    2. CUT the bottom off the pears—just enough so they sit flat. Core the pears using a melon baller. Peel the skin and place the pears directly into the poaching liquid. The liquid should cover the pears.

    3. GENTLY ROTATE the pears during the cooking process. The pears should be firm but soft enough to cut with a spoon (insert a paring knife to test). Estimated cooking time is 20-35 minutes.

    4. STRAIN the spices, reserving the poaching liquid. Refrigerate the pears in the poaching liquid overnight. The poaching liquid will become the glaze when you assemble the plate.
    For The Honey-Lemon Mascarpone Filling

  • 500g mascarpone
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 37g honey
  • 4g kosher salt

    1. BLEND the mascarpone ingredients. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and carefully pat dry the insides. Pipe the filling into the pear cavities. Roll the stuffed pears in the chopped candied pistachios.

    2. REDUCE the poaching liquid until it has a syrup-like consistency and coats the back of a spoon.

    3. PLACE each pear on a plate and drizzle with the reduced poaching liquid. Garnish as desired with pomegranate arils and mint leaves.



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