Star-spiced pears recipe

(14 ratings)

These star-spiced pears tick all the boxes - cheap, quick and easy to prepare and they taste great. Plus they're under 300 calories per serving.

Star-spiced pears
  • healthy
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories266 Kcal13%
Saturated Fat11 g55%

These simple star-spiced pears are a perfect pudding to serve up when you're watching what you eat - sweet, tasty and under 300 calories per portion.

Make these when pears are in season from late August, so that you get fruit that tastes its absolute best, and is at its cheapest. Pear sales are in decline in the UK, which is a shame as this pudding is a revelation, whether you're dieting or not. The spiced syrup coats the pears in a velvety stickiness, the perfect complement to that wonderfully soft but slightly gritty pear texture. If you're not dieting by the way, have some double cream on hand to pour over the top - it mingles with the syrup irresistibly. Otherwise some fat-free crème fraîche is a good substitute. This recipe serves four - but you could get a fifth pear out of it without having to adjust the syrup ingredients.


  • 4 just-ripe pears
  • 200g (7oz) light muscovado sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves, optional
  • 3-4 pieces of star anise




  1. To make the syrup: Put all the ingredients except the pears into a pan that will be just big enough to hold the pears, too. Add 600ml (1 pint) water. Put over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and then bring to the boil.
  2. Peel the pears, but don’t core them. Stand them up in the pan of just boiling syrup and cover with a piece of crumpled, damp greaseproof paper, to stop the pears bobbing up. Or put a saucer that fits inside the pan, on top of them.
  3. Simmer very gently for about 20 mins, then test whether the pears are tender by inserting a skewer and seeing if it goes in easily. Carefully take out the pears with a draining spoon and put them in a dish. Take out the cinnamon stick.
  4. Bring the syrup to the boil for about 20 mins until reduced and really syrupy — almost to a caramel consistency. Pour, or spoon, over the pears, which can be served warm or cold. The syrup is sweet/sharp, like a spicy marmalade sauce. Serve with cream or ice cream, if you like.

Top tip for making star-spiced pears

It doesn't really matter what type you use, more important is the ripeness. They should be 'just ripe' so they still have some firmness. This is not a recipe for using up pears that are overripe and threatening to spoil (just eat them and get the lovely juices all over your fingers).

If the pears are left in the syrup overnight, the syrup will become more runny.

You might also like...

Octavia Lillywhite
Food and Lifestyle Writer

Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.