A Mother's Day Afternoon Tea with Poached Pears

surprise your mom with something sweet
Poached Pear Recipe
@ Shutterstock / Anna Baburkina

We owe a lot to our mothers, and in North America we celebrate mothers everywhere on the second Sunday in May. They provide us with a warm incubator in our first months, nourishment, care, and protection. They are profound role models in our lives. When considering the time, effort, and boundless love they spend with us as children (and as adult children!), it doesn't cost us much to make simple gestures of gratitude. Like many holidays, Mother's Day has become very commercialized, even to the chagrin of the woman who established the first Mother's Day way back in 1908! Moms everywhere love receiving the gift of your time and energy more than material things and there are many, many ways to show how much you value her.

Ideas for Mother's Day activities

  • Make a card (even if you're a grown-up!)
  • Bring her a wildflower arrangement
  • Visit over tea or coffee and dessert
  • Go for a walk or scenic drive
  • Work in the garden together

Plan ahead to show your appreciation on Mother's Day and surprise a mom with something special that she already needs: food!

Honey and Spice Poached Pears

Spoil her with a healthy homemade dessert that will go perfectly with fresh baked scones, preserves, and clotted cream. Serve with a cup of herbal tea or coffee and good company. Delicious!

Serves: 2


  • 2 ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears (very firm)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter (for wine reduction)


  1. Peel the pears and cut them in half from top to bottom. Leave the stems intact. Presentation is everything so handle delicately and with precision.
  2. Core each pear half by scooping out the center with a spoon.
  3. Bring a 4-quart pot to a boil and add the wine, water, honey, and sugar over high heat. Stir until the sugar and honey are dissolved. Add the ginger, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon stick.
  4. Submerge the pears, and turn the heat down to a low heat. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until pears can be pierced with a fork.
  5. When pears are cooked, place a fine-mesh colander over an 8-inch skillet and pour the pears and the poaching liquid through it.
  6. Discard the spices and transfer the pears to a bowl.
  7. Cover and refrigerate the steeped pears overnight to deepen flavour or set aside while you prepare the wine reduction. 
  8. To make a reduction, bring the liquid to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Stir frequently until it appears thicker, syrupy and reduced by half. Turn heat off and stir in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter at a time until it is glossy, rich, and spreadable.
  9. To serve, pour a couple tablespoons of the reduction on the bottom of a white-coloured bowl and top with a poached pear and cream.