Caramelised vanilla pears

Sauteed then roasted pear quarters.
Sauteed then roasted pear quarters. Photo: William Meppem

Throughout winter I struggle with the lack of exciting fruits at the market. We are always trialling new methods and techniques. This recipe for roast pears now makes its way back into the kitchen each year and is one of my favourite recipes for cooking pear. Add to a clafoutis pudding or serve as a standalone dessert with a good dollop of whipped cream or quality vanilla ice-cream.


4 firm packham pears

4 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp soft butter

100ml water

1 vanilla bean

1 tsp Poire William* or brandy (optional)


1. Peel, quarter and core the pears. Heat an enamel or stainless steel frying pan that will house the pears tightly. The pears should form a snug single layer in the base of the pan and not be stacked up on top of each other.

2. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Julienne (finely shred) the remaining vanilla pod and set aside.

3. Add the butter, sugar and prepared pears to the pan. Place the pan over a high heat and gently saute, moving the pears about from time to time as they caramelise. When they are caramelised, add the water, brandy and vanilla bean.

4. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or aluminium foil, turn down the heat to a low and cook for 10 minutes, checking occasionally and adding more water as it evaporates. Once cooked remove the lid and simmer stirring occasionally until all the liquid has completely reduced. Set the pears aside to cool until ready to add to the clafoutis.