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Poached Martin Sec Pears in red wine with crème anglaise


Pears from Piedmont in Italy, known as Martin Sec, are used in this traditional dish. The pears are poached in red wine traditionally a Barolo or Barbaresco sweetened with sugar and flavoured with cloves and cinnamon.

What you need:

4 ripe Martin Sec pears

½ lemon

300g caster sugar

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 bottle 750ml of red wine (medium to full bodied)

For the crème Anglaise:

480 ml of light cream

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

66g granulated white sugar

5 large egg yolks


  • Preheat the oven to 175C. Peel the pears and rub them with lemon. Place them in a baking dish just large enough to hold the pears. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the top.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the dish. Try to cover the pears as much as possible with the wine. Bake for 1 hour, rotating the pears if necessary to keep them evenly submerged.
  • When the pears are tepid, remove them from the liquid. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and boil the liquid to reduce it down to a syrup.
  • Have a fine medium-sized strainer and bowl ready near the stove. In a stainless-steel bowl stir together, using a wooden spoon, the sugar and egg yolks until well blended.
  • In a small saucepan heat the cream and vanilla bean to boiling point.  Remove from heat and whisk a few tablespoons of the cream into the yolk mixture.  Then, gradually add the remaining cream, whisking constantly.
  • Pour this mixture into the saucepan and, over medium heat, gently heat the mixture until it is at a rolling boil. Check to see if it is the right consistency by holding a wooden spoon sideways that is covered with the custard and run your finger along the back of the spoon.  If the streak remains without the cream running down through the streak, it is ready. Pour through the strainer and remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sauce.
  • Serve pears in a bowl with the reduced syrup and a dollop of crème anglaise.

All ingredients are available at Morton’s, Dunville Avenue.