Glühwein Poached Pears With Spiced Mascarpone Cream

Nothing smells like Christmas as citrus, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. I know that these warming spices seem out of place when we celebrate Christmas in a warm country like South Africa, but there is something about this smell that warms my heart and makes me want to switch on fairy lights.  Just making this delicious dessert is enough to put you in the festive spirit –  my whole house smelled like Jingle Bells! And it is so good that I licked out the pot. I had to wrestle the spoon from one of my children! This recipe for Gühwein poached pears with spiced mascarpone cream comes from Nadia Lim, and it is absolutely delicious served cold. So get ready for a traditional Christmas dessert, served chilled as it should be on a hot Christmas day!

gluhwein poached pears

How to Make Glühwein Poached Pears With Spiced Mascarpone Cream

You will need

For the Pears:

  • 750ml red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice (with no pulp)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (or seeds from 1 vanilla pod)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • peel and juice of 1 orange
  • peel and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 firm pears

For the Spiced Mascarpone Cream

  • 1 cup mascarpone (you can also use double cream or double cream yoghurt)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

peeled pairs


Place all the ingredients for the poached pears, except for the pears, into a medium saucepan and heat.

While the liquid is heating, peel the pears with a knife or vegetable peeler and slice a bit off the bottom so that they can stand upright.

Place the pears on their sides in the liquid and bring to the boil. The liquid should just about cover the pears.

Reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently, partially covered, for 1.5 to 2 hours, until the pears are tender and have absorbed the lovely colour and flavours of the wine and spices. Turn the pears once or twice while cooking to ensure that they colour evenly. You must also keep an eye on them to make sure that the liquid is not reducing too fast and allowing the pears to burn to the bottom of the pot.

Remove the pears from the liquid and allow to cool. Then turn the heat back up, reducing the liquid for 10 more minutes, until thick and syrupy.

Mix the spices with the mascarpone cream.

gluhwein poached pears with spiced mascarpone cream

To serve, drizzle the syrup over the pears and served with the chilled spicy mascarpone.

Happy Feasting!

Bread and Butter Pudding with a Twist

It’s been said many a time: there’s something indescribably comforting about a warm baked pudding during winter.  So that’s exactly what I’m bringing you this month, but not any old pudding…  Below are the instructions for a traditional favourite that’s been upgraded to a whole new level of deliciousness – Bread and Butter Pudding with Hot Cross Buns, Marmalade & Marzipan!  And the best part of it is it’s SO easy to make.  You don’t even need an electric mixer!

bread and butter pudding vintage table cloth


Equipment: A medium saucepan, large mixing bowl, whisk, large ovenproof dish


250ml thick cream

600ml milk

5 large eggs

100g caster sugar

1½ tsp vanilla essence

8 hot cross buns

40 soft butter

100g marzipan (cubed)

3 – 4 tbsp orange marmalade

Icing sugar for dusting


Pre-heat oven to 170ºC (150ºC Fan / Gas Mark 3) and prepare your ovenproof dish by spraying with non-stick spray.

  • Warm the cream and milk in your saucepan over a gentle heat.
  • Using your mixing bowl and whisk, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla.
  • Stirring continuously, slowly add the warm cream mixture to the cool egg mixture.
  • Halve your Hot Cross Buns, then spread them with butter.

  • Arrange them in your ovenproof dish, then dot with the marzipan and marmalade.
  • Pour over the custard mixture, then set aside to soak for 15 minutes. Press the buns down into the mixture as they soften.

  • Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until set, then remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  • Dust lightly with icing sugar and serve warm for pure comfort and enjoyment.

bread and butter pudding vintage table cloth

Happy baking!