I’ll admit this recipe came into being because my husband and I don’t really like Moscato. We were gifted a good bottle (a kind gift!) but needed to figure out what else we could do with it besides drink it. After some research, this delectable dessert surfaced. A combination of a few different recipes, my second favorite part about this version (aside from eating the final product) is how absolutely amazing the simmer will make your home smell. The ice cream + fruit combo makes this a great summer dessert, but the spice combination will have you dreaming of Christmas. 

Prep Time: 5 min | Cook Time: 1 hr | Serves: 4-6


  • 1 bottle of Moscato (opt for a very sweet one)
  • 4-6  (depending on your guest list) ripe pears
  • 2 tbpns honey
  • 2 tbspns brown sugar
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • One 3/4″ piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into thin dials
  • Powdered cinnamon (for serving)
  • Vanilla ice cream (for serving)


Peel pears, leaving stem intact, and set aside.

Place a large pot over medium heat. Pour in the Moscato then add the honey, cloves, allspice, star anise, cinnamon, vanilla and ginger. Bring to a simmer.

Place the peeled whole pears in the liquid and simmer, turning occasionally (and gently), until very easily pierced with a knife tip or fork – about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove pears, let cool, cover and refrigerate.

Continue simmering the liquid until thickened and reduced by up to 3/4 . . . about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (if serving immediately) or refrigerate (if serving later).

To serve: Cut the simmered pears in half and carefully remove visible seeds. Place 2 halves and 1-2 generous scoops of high-quality vanilla ice cream on each serving dish. Top with a happy portion of sauce and a sprinkle of powdered cinnamon. Enjoy!

Tips & Adaptations

  • The pears should give a bit when you press on them, but make sure you don’t bring home a mushy bunch. Some recipes recommend Anjou, but Barletts were the only option at my supermarket the day I made this. They tasted wonderful.
  • If you’d like the sauce to be even sweeter, up the amount of sugar content via a simple syrup. Some recipes I saw recommended up to two cups of simple syrup.
  • If you don’t have a cinnamon stick on hand, use 1/2 – 1 tsp of cinnamon. I’m a cinnamon fanatic, so I opt for 1 tsp.
  • If you’re the kind of person who keeps whole vanilla beans around or are looking for an excuse to splurge on some, use 1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise, seeds and pod emptied into liquid) instead of vanilla extract.
  • You can of course up the spice content all across the board if you want the sauce to be exceptionally Christmas-y. Keep in mind, however, that the flavors of these spices will intensify as they simmer over time (like in spiced apple cider). I found these amounts plenty notable in the final desert.
  • If you shop at Publix, you can find star anise and whole allspice berries in the Mexican food section of the international aisle. They will be very affordable there.
  • You can prepare this recipe ahead of time (up to the day before) if you’re prepping for a big meal.