Pomegranate Poached Pears: A Unique (and Delicious!) Thanksgiving Dessert

pomegranate poached pears

There are so many reasons I love Thanksgiving. At our house, we start the day off putting a huge turkey in the oven to roast. Then, we watch the Thanksgiving parade as amazing smells begin to fill the air. Soon the house is buzzing with activity as preparations for dinner really get underway. Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions include, they are sure to revolve around a special meal shared with friends and family gathered in the spirit of gratitude, because celebrating what’s good in life is what it’s all about!

When I’m hosting Thanksgiving, I love to finish with something unexpected for dessert. After a day of feasting on that turkey and all the trimmings, these Pomegranate Poached Pears with Maple Walnut Mascarpone are a light and surprising alternative to all the traditional pies and cakes. Best of all, they feature our absolute favorite thing here at Edible® — fresh fruit! The recipe is simple to execute, but the presentation is wow-worthy. These can be made up to two days in advance, so you can check dessert off of your holiday hosting to-do list early!

pomegranate poached pears

Pomegranate Poached Pears with Maple Walnut Mascarpone

Serves 4

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 2 pears, ripe but not soft (Bartlett, Anjou, or Bosc pears all work well)
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature (substitute cream cheese, if desired)
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional to garnish)

Steps to Follow:

  1. Carefully peel the pears while leaving the stem intact. Cut them in half, and use a melon baller or sturdy spoon to remove the core from the pear. Set aside.
  2. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, split the half vanilla bean long ways and use the back of the knife to gently scrape the seeds out. Place the bean and seeds into a medium saucepan. Add the pomegranate juice, sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, and cardamom to the pot, and stir to combine.
  3. Arrange the pears in the pot so that they are fully submerged in the juice mixture, then place the pot over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the pears are tender all the way through, when pierced with a toothpick. Turn off the heat and let the pears macerate in the juice mixture for several hours until they take on a nice, red color. Note: If you’re making this recipe days in advance, stop here, place the pears and juice into an airtight container and refrigerate. Before serving, proceed with the remaining steps below.
  4. Uncover the pot and transfer the pear halves to a plate. Reduce the juice mixture over medium heat until it is thickened and reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Strain out the spices.
  5. While the sauce reduces, combine the mascarpone, walnuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir until blended. Set aside.
  6. To serve, place one pear half on a dessert plate or in a shallow bowl, flat side up. Spoon some of the pomegranate syrup around the pear, then spoon two tablespoons of the walnut mixture into the hollow of the pear. Garnish with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, if using. Repeat with the remaining pears, and serve.