honey tangerine and lime poached pears

It was recently revealed to me that my fella has a thing for poached pears. It was recently discovered that the grocery store did not have any pomelos for sale. It was recently decided upon that honey tangerines are jewels of deliciousness, and it was recently intuited that said tangerines and lime would work nicely together.

All of these seemingly disparate items were united yesterday, when the stars aligned to create these light-yet-satisfying Honey Tangerine and Lime Poached Pears.

The closest I’d come to poached pears in my entire life (I think) were the canned kind, notably those in small Fruit Cocktail Cups that I used to eat for lunch in elementary school. The pears were always my least favorite part of the fruit cocktail equation, often eschewed for the tastier mandarin oranges and special-er maraschino cherries.

While a lot of poached pear recipes use a red wine base, I wanted something lighter, that would highlight the tart sweetness of a citrus syrup. Erin of yummy supper had a nice post last fall about pears poached in Lillet and citrus, but not surprisingly my small town grocery store was Lillet-less. Listlesslly left without Lillet, I briefly considered taking the pears in a Calvados direction.

I decided to let the citrus shine without including any frivolous (read: expensive) liqueur. Rather, a sprinkling of dried rosemary introduced an herbiness that played nicely with the tangerine-lime combination.


My pears, once peeled, looked as if they had been doing a bit of roughhousing with the locally-grown potatoes in the grocery storeroom after hours. It’s a nice grocery store, I promise. It has a fantastic meat selection, but bruised pears and no pomelos. You win some, you lose some: I win bacon, for instance. And if I wanted to, plenty of chicken livers and cow feet to boot.

I made this dessert as a capper to my Valentine’s Feast of Fun, which featured two kinds of pierogi, lots of butter, a smattering of Alfredo sauce, and some bubbly Prosecco. And since sweets are the best expression of my love, I made a second dessert as well. Who would only make one dessert for their sweetheart? [I would, if I had a job.] If Red Velvet Crème Brûlée (RVCB) sounds right up your alley, browse the interweb to find a good recipe. I’d link you, but the RVCB blogger’s writing style was so obnoxious that I can’t post the link in good faith, sorry.

This dessert is perfect for any occasion. The citrus makes it a welcoming choice whether the conditions outside are wintry or warm, and the pears’ juicy lightness is the perfect way to end a starchy meal – or the perfect preamble to a second dessert !

Honey Tangerine and Lime Poached Pears

{Original recipe, with pearls of pear wisdom garnered from yummy supper}

Makes 4 servings.


2 honey tangerines (1 zested, both sliced thin)
1 lime, sliced thin
10 peppercorns
Several pinches of dried rosemary
5 c. (1.2 liters) water
1 1/2 c. (300 g) sugar
4 pears (I used both Bosc and Anjou pears)


Heat all but the pears in a 4-quart pan (one that will fit the pears nicely) mixture begins to simmer. Meanwhile, peel pears and cut off a small sliver of the pear bottom to encourage them to stay strong and stand on their own.

Submerge pears in pan, and keep at a simmer. If pears are not covered by liquid, add additional water:sugar mixture until fully submerged. Put a pan-sized circle of parchment over the pears, and weigh all down with a pot lid – this way, they will be kept from additional roughhousing.

Simmer for 30-40 minutes, depending on the pears’ initial ripeness. Mine were somewhat unripe, and took 40 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit an additional 30 minutes.

Place each pear and some of its decorative syrupy allies in a small bowl or glass. Add in syrup if desired. Serve immediately, or allow to chill before serving.


18 thoughts on “honey tangerine and lime poached pears

  1. Wouldn’t you know I am poaching pears today for a recipe test? I love the unique flavor combination here. You’re right that pears always seem to be poached in red wine, then sometimes inexplicably drizzled in chocolate as well. Maybe I’m missing out but that has never sounded appealing to me. Citrus and rosemary is gonna be the new standard!

    1. Alayna, quelle coincidence !

      I’ve never had a red wine-poached pear, but that sure seems to be the fashionable thing to do. I love mulled wine, and it was pointed out to me that said pears are similar in flavor.

      Mmm, inexplicable chocolate drizzle.

  2. This sounds good. I usually pass over poached pears but I think the flavor combo in this one would be much better. I’ve tried the whole red wine thing and it wasn’t for me. THIS one sounds good.

    I had to find it, and omg I think I did. Boom.

    1. Sarah, hee hee hee. Boom !

      You made me giggle extensively:)

      Poached pears were never something I considered exciting, but the depth of flavors in this recipe were very enjoyable to me. Perhaps, as Alayna mentioned above, a new standard!

  3. I think I found that obnoxious blog entry you referred to. I couldn’t finish reading it; I nearly lost my lunch. Fer realz. Um…I saw you on MacTweets this week! That blog is fueling my macaron mania until I buck up and actually try to make a batch. These pears sound amazing. You know, I don’t eat enough pears. Perhaps I’ll try these. Hope PI is treating you well!

    1. Brianne, I feel a bit like a tragic gossiping schoolgirl, like fer realz. I wanted to go to the ‘about’ section to see who would write in such a way but I knew that was the wrong option. Oh dear:)

      I figured I’d MacTweet it up! I have oodles of respect for Jamie Schler and her evocative writing style…

      I don’t eat enough pears either, I usually only use them in salads, and rarely at that. PI is chilly!!

  4. Oh my gosh, my non-prejudiced voice can see how this is gorgeous and refreshing and a wonderful dessert, but my closed-minded-mind can’t help going “noooooo!” because not only is the dreaded orange here, but I grew up making poached pears ALL THE TIME (having a dairy- and gluten-intolerant family means that poached pears are the easy dessert option), and even though I’ve made all kinds – poached in cranberry juice, champange, raspberry syrup, cinnamon syrup…. I still can’t get over the sick-of aversion.

    But maybe by the time I visit you, old wounds will have healed… :P

    1. Oh well, I can’t please everyone:( At least the person I made them for liked them. I think. I know they weren’t what he expected.

      All those other options sound very good. If poached pears interested me more I’d be furiously scribbling notes!

  5. You know, I just saw a poached pear recipe in a Bon Appetite magazine and turned the page right past it, not thinking it looked very good. You, on the other hand, make them look pretty durn tasty – and that’s saying something, considering if it doesn’t have chocolate in it, I typically politely pretend it doesn’t exist.

    I may have to try this – there’s something to be said for light and fruity desserts! Beautiful pics as always. :D

    1. Mary, ho ho, ya hear that, Bon Appetit? I’m a-coming for ya, and I ain’t backin down!

      Actually, when I was told that my boyfriend loves poached pears, I politely pretended that they sounded appetizing, while inwardly thinking “how boring!”

      But between the light fruity pears, and the megaflavored syrup, this made a tasty dessert. I had my second pear for breakfast this morning – delicious!

    1. Mum, thanks! I’m constructing all kinds of fun things to help out the pictures in my poorly-lit kitchen…the black background here? The inside of a cardboard box for holding one of my cedar waxwing commemorative plates:)

  6. Lovely! I’ve baked pears, but haven’t poached them. The flavor combo you came up with sounds like a winner, so hooray for your grocery store and it’s lack of things! :) (I totally just did a quick search of RVCB to see if I could find the obnoxious post..haha)

    1. Jessica, haha – aww, obnoxious speech-as-text RVCB post;)

      Baked pears! Oooh, that sounds delightful, I’ve never done that. Back to the store of few ingredients!

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