Tarragon-Poached Pears

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
1 hr
15 min
45 min
When removing strips of lemon zest, be sure to peel off only the flavorful, colorful yellow part of the zest and not the bitter white pith that is underneath.



4 cup(s)

White wine

1 cup(s), or white grape juice


1 cup(s)

Fresh tarragon

¼ cup(s), or 1 bunch

Lemon zest

1½ tsp, 8 (3-inch-long) strips, removed with a vegetable peeler

Fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp

Table salt



4 large, Bartlett or Bosc varieties


  1. Combine the water, wine, sugar, all but 8 tiny sprigs of the tarragon, the lemon zest and juice, and salt in a large saucepan and set over high heat. Bring to a boil; boil 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the pears, cut lengthwise in half, and remove the cores with a melon baller or a small knife. Add the pears to the saucepan and set over low heat. Simmer, covered, over low heat until the pears are tender when pierced with a fork, 10 – 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a large shallow bowl.
  3. Bring the poaching liquid to a boil over high heat; boil until reduced to about 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl; reserve the zest. Pour the poaching liquid over the pears; add the lemon zest. Cool the pears slightly and serve, or refrigerate, covered, turning occasionally, until thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
  4. Place a pear half in each of 8 shallow bowls and top with some of the syrup; garnish with the remaining tarragon sprigs and the lemon zest. Yields 1⁄2 pear and 1⁄4 cup syrup per serving.


If the lemon strips do contain bits of pith, use a small, sharp knife to cut it away.