Thursday, 23 February 2023

Pears Baked as in Savoy or French Savoie


This is a stunning fruit dessert, inspired by the Savoy region in France. It consists of the simplest ingredients and is delicious despite containing no wine, but it will pair beautifully with your best bottle of dessert wine or sticky. It really is an exercise in simplicity, with pears, butter, cream, sugar, a vanilla bean, and that's all. The pears cook to perfection, surrounded by the most delicious sauce. This is a French recipe so there's no shortage of beautiful butter. Thanks Stephanie Alexander for the inspiration to take the humble pear to the next level for dessert. It's interesting that Stephanie in her acclaimed cookbook, "Cook's Companion" doesn't provide any illustrations for most of her recipes but she doesn't need to, her reputation speaks for itself. There are photos on her website though.

Normally I like to be well organised when I cook for guests or just the two of us, with the times coordinated for when various elements of the meal need to be prepared and cooked. These days I don't really like havoc in the kitchen if it can be avoided. However, the day I made the Savoy Pears I wasn't as well organised as usual as I'd played 2 hours of Pickle Ball in the afternoon, from 12-2 pm, which was quite vigorous by my standards, and then allowing for some rapid recovery time, I entered the kitchen ready to commence preparations closer to 4 o'clock. Without going into all the precise details, my quite delicate Savoy pears had to be relegated to the bottom shelf of the oven so that the Moroccan Chicken traybake could be baking in plenty of time for dinner. Recipe of the Moroccan Chicken still to come by the way. These were two recipes that I hadn't cooked before which I don't often attempt either. As I explained to J our lovely dinner guest whose husband was away, she was being experimented on with two recipes I hadn't cooked before. J is also a great cook and is a pleasure to cook for. I compromised a little on the oven temperature to accommodate both dishes at the same time and it all worked out. Thankfully I was happy with both of them, and J enjoyed them.  Another testament to how wonderful this recipe is. Does my kitchen story sound somewhat familiar to you? Or are you always without exception very well organised? Have you eaten Pears Savoy before?


4 just ripe and firm pears (I used Packham Pears)

8 tablespoons of castor sugar or 2/3 cup.

1 vanilla bean, split and broken into pieces.

2 tablespoons water

4 tablespoons thick cream or 1/2 cup.

Enough butter to dot over the pears


Preheat your oven to 160 deg. C.

This dish requires an ovenproof dish which will fit 8 pear halves in snugly. I used a round pyrex tart plate and that worked well. The dish doesn't need to be fancy as the pears will be served in dessert bowls.

Butter the dish well, and peel, halve and core the pears. This was very easy to do. Leaving the stems on would make them look nicer. I didn't this time.

Place the pear halves in the baking dish, hollow-side uppermost.

Scatter the castor sugar over (1 tablespoon per pear half), then dot with butter. Please don't skimp with the butter, you will be pleased that you didn't.

 Scatter the vanilla bean pieces in the dish, then pour in the water around the base of the pears. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for at least 1 1/2 hours in your slow oven. 1 1/2 hours was perfect for my large Packham Pears. The longer you leave them in the oven, the darker their appearance will be. If they were very firm to begin with, they will hold their shape and integrity well.

When the aroma of the pears is wafting through your kitchen, and they are tender, which should coincide, remove the foil and spoon 1 teaspoon of thick cream into each pear hollow. 

Increase your oven temperature to 200 deg. C.

Return the dish uncovered to the hotter oven for 15 minutes or until the cream has melted and mingled with the buttery juices. 

Rest your pears for a few minutes and allow to cool. No burnt mouths please.

Serve with ice cream, which is always convenient and perfect for dessert. I served these pears with a thin slice of my freshly baked Ginger Syrup cake, which I had baked in the morning.

Cook's notes:

  • What I also love about this recipe is its versatility. The last step of adding the cream and returning the dish to the oven can be left until in between the main and dessert course. I left mine covered with alfoil for a couple of hours as I had another meal baking in the oven. The cream can be added back into the oven to finish cooking while your family or guests are taking a short break after the main meal if that suits you.
  • This recipe is gluten free.
  • Increase the number of pears and ingredients according to how many people you are feeding.
  • If you can manage to leave the stems on the pears while you are peeling and halving them, please do so, it will add to their appearance in the dish. I was in a rush for these photos and didn't, noted for next time. They still tasted exquisite.

With pears in your fruit bowl, there is no shortage of opportunities to make something that everyone will enjoy and remember. They will also keep beautifully in your refrigerator crisper for a couple of weeks until ready for use as long as they are very firm when placed in there. In our climate, pears can ripen very quickly. Once they do, there is a small window of enjoyment.

Thanks for dropping by. 

Warm wishes



  1. I love the simplicity of this fruit dessert. You just can't go wrong with real vanilla and butter in a dessert.

  2. Love these pears-beautiful this time of year. I also love the simplicity of the dish. Thanks for sharing it!

    P.S. Cheers to Pickle Ball!

    1. Thanks Velva, this dish is beautifully simple, just takes a little time to bake.

  3. This sounds like a super dessert. I'm very organised when cooking but I do have three ovens. Albeit one needs to have the display light sorted out. What is a stick?
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime

  4. Tandy, A sticky is what we commonly call a Sweet,Dessert Wine here. Some are too sweet for my taste, but I've had some lovely French Sauternes. I've often thought I need another oven, oh to have three. that would be amazing.

  5. Delicious! And I learned something! I was sure you meant Savoie, but I guess there’s really a Savoy! (Not that I know everything about France, but it seemed like an American spelling.) Anyway, great dessert! Love the simplicity but the full flavors.

    1. Thanks Mimi, I was trying to be true to Stephanie's original recipe, but I've changed the header name just in case to Savoie, but I quickly looked it up and Savoy is the historical name I think but I don't trust Wikipedia for true information (being a Librarian)
      l'll ask my French Daughter in law to clarify as they live in the same prefecture I think. It's always interesting to learn :).

  6. I do love that the French love their butter!! In the days when hubby and I ate butter ... More is better! This dessert looks lovely pauline. I am usually very organised in the kitchen but life can happen!

  7. Sigh. Looks like my comments aren't going through again. Grrr. I did comment and I love this dish, Pauline - the cream is such a nice addition. Mark likes poached pears. but I find baked ones so much more flavorful!

  8. David this was particularly flavorful for such a simple recipe.Pears are just the best aren't they? I don't know why your comments aren't coming through. I know they can take a little while to activate after pushing the publish button.


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