These spiced poached pears without wine are an indulgent fall dessert, with the sweetness of the pears combining so perfectly with the hints of spice. Easy to make, they are made without alcohol and use spiced apple juice for the syrup instead, which makes them feel like such a treat. A vegan, gluten-free and low histamine dessert.
Cardamom has become one of my go-to pantry staples, and it feels rather festive. Much like my cardamom oat cookies and cardamom apple fritters, these poached pears get so much flavour from this pungent spice. Just a tiny pinch can transform both sweet and savoury dishes.
These easy poached pears without wine dessert is a little twist on the classic, using spices and apple juice. It's so flavourful and fun, and I think kids and adults alike will love it! Serve with a little ice-cream if that works for you!
⭐ Why you'll love this recipe
- Decadent. The combination of the sweet apple juice and spices feels quite special.
- No alcohol. The pears are poached in apple juice rather than wine, which means they are alcohol-free and suitable for adults and kids alike.
- Easy to make. It's a very simple recipe, with just a few steps.
You need minimal ingredients for this recipe, and aside from the pears most are pantry staples:
- Pears: I always use conference pears, but any type should work well as long as they are ripe.
- Apple juice: used to poach the pears, in place of wine or other alcohol in many recipes.
- Ginger: I use a piece of fresh ginger, but a touch of ginger powder will also work (it's pungent as powder so only use a little!).
- Cardamom: another pungent spice, that gives so much flavour.
- Cinnamon: this is optional if you are following a low histamine diet.
- Star anise: also optional if low histamine.
- Pistachios: be sure to use unsalted for this recipe!
📖 Which pears to use?
I think any pears would work well with this recipe, but I always use conference pears.
For poached pears you need to use ripe pears, but avoid using overripe ones as they can turn a bit too mushy after being poached in the apple juice.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Making these poached pears in apple juice is very simple, and requires just a few steps. Of course, be careful with the syrup as it gets very hot, so use tongs not fingers to remove the pears and the ginger from the pan when serving.
Peel the pears, but keep the stalk (if they have them) as it looks quite pretty for presentation. Don't worry if you can't fully peel at their tops and bottoms.
Add the peeled pears to a large saucepan with the apple juice, ginger, cardamom and optional cinnamon and star anise. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a light simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the pears from the pan and set aside on a plate.
Increase the heat of the apple juice mixture so that is on a low boil. Leave to boil for around 15 minutes so that it reduces into a syrup. The longer you leave the juice to boil, the thicker the syrup will be.
To serve, remove the ginger piece from the syrup (use a spoon or tongs, not fingers!) and then pour over the plated pears.
💭 Recipe tips and notes
- Use ripe pears for the best sweetness and so they soak up the flavours of the apple juice and spices.
- Reduce the amount of syrup to preference. The longer the cook time the more it will reduce.
- Be careful when handling the pears after cooking (as well as the syrup). It will get very hot, and we don't want burns!
📋 Frequently asked questions
The pears need to be ripe, but not overripe, so they don't go mushy while poaching in the apple juice. I made this mistake on a recipe test and they tasted great, but didn't have the best texture.
Adjust the cooking time to preference. The syrup will reduce and get thicker the longer you let it boil. Personally I prefer it to be more 'liquid' than thick syrup, but adjust to taste.
No, you can easily use those you prefer!
🥣 More sweet treats
Find lots of fun ideas on my desserts page, including my easy apple and pear compote and my quick and very delicious two ingredient mango sorbet. Some recent recipes to try out:
I’m always in the kitchen, so come join me on Instagram and Facebook to be the first to hear of new recipes. And please do leave a star rating ⭐⭐⭐ if you've tried the recipe!
Spiced Poached Pears (Without Wine)
- 4 large pears
- 3 cups apple juice
- 1 cm piece of ginger
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon optional
- 1 star anise optional
- ¼ cup pistachios crushed
- Peel the pears and add to a large pan with the apple juice, ginger, cardamom and optional cinnamon and star anise. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a light simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pears from the pan, then increase the apple juice mixture to a light boil. Boil for around 15 minutes until the juice reduces and becomes a syrup.
- Plate the pears and then drizzle on the syrup. Sprinkle with pistachios. Enjoy!
- Be very careful when handling the syrup as it gets very hot - use tongs!
- Reduce the syrup for as long as you wish. The longer it is boiled, the more it will reduce and thicken.
- Cinnamon and star anise are both debated in terms of histamine, so only use if you know you tolerate well. The pears will still be flavourful without these ingredients.
- Please note that nutritional information is offered as a courtesy. It is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
- pears, which score 1.
- ginger, which scores 1.
- cinnamon scores 0 but is higher on other lists.
- star anise is not scored but just has a ?
Can we replace apple juice with water?
Hi Deepa, you could use water in place of apple juice but the pears wouldn't have too much flavour, other than from the spices. It's the juice that give them extra sweetness and flavour.
Absolutely delicious recipe: only one person at the table was on a low histamine diet but EVERYONE asked for more. I’ll be making this again and again mixing it up with various fruits. Thanks Claire for all your amazing recipes
So glad everyone liked it Chrissy! I've been trying it out with different fruits too!