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Croatian Recipes: Pears poached in Pelješac Varenik

(Photo credit: Little Chef & Little Market)

Endlessly delicious in their natural state, pears are always a surprise in unusual combinations. They show up in cobblers, pies, salads, jams, juices, and compotes, as well as uncovered on toast or mashed and completely hidden.

They blend with a number of tastes, and it is difficult to decide which one fits best. Wine, champagne, balsamic vinegar, pepper, celery, rosemary, cheese, walnuts, honey, chocolate, caramel, cinnamon… it does not really matter, a pear will be happy.

This time Little Chef made them tipsy with some red wine and sweet Pelješac Varenik.


Little Chef

Pears poached in red wine is a classic example how the simplest of ingredients, with minimum effort, could become sophisticated dessert. Fruit in a velvety fragrant bath of red wine, covered with Pelješac Varenik, will not only seduce you with their beauty but also with its surreal fine taste.

The secret ingredient in this recipe is Pelješac Varenik, precious syrup made by slowly reducing must made of the best Plavac Mali grapes, one of the indigenous Croatian sorts.

One of the historically oldest food supplements was recently saved from disappearing by well-known wine producers of Bartulović, Miloš, Križ and Vukas families.

Pelješac Varenik

Due to its strong connection with local culture and landscape, Pelješac Varenik is now also protected as Slow Food Praesidium, as indigenous sorts and traditional foodstuff produced organically and in a traditional way. One teaspoon of this concentrated vitamin syrup will add entirely new dimension to pears.

I don’t have many recipes with pears, but I like to keep them on my kitchen table. This is is the fruit I like best in its natural stated, not covered by sponge cake or some cream. That’s when its graciousness and beauty is most visible. It is most delicious picked ripe, just before it will start to decay, so sometimes we say that pear grows old in dignity.

Pears cooked in red wine is a recipe that I like to prepare the most, and sometimes it is enough to simply combine fresh fruit with some cheese and glass of fine wine or champaign. For this recipe pick some dry red with as that will determine the character of this dessert. This time I’ve used cuveé by Matković Honest Wines.

My hear was punching, and my breath shortened. Is this cuveé or your lips really taste like sour cherries?


Little Chef


6 large pears (OPG Bastašić)
750 ml red wine (Matković Honest Wines)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 star anise
1 vanilla pod
100 g demerara sugar
6 teaspoons Pelješac Varenik (Križ Pelješac Winery)

Little Chef


1. Use a pot large enough for all pears placed vertically. Mix wine, sugar and spices. Put on middle heat and boil.
2. Peel pears in the meantime. Leave stems, and if pear will not stand vertically cut the bottom.
3. Add pears to the pot and cook covered for 30 minutes. Turn pears upside down from time to time to cook evenly.
4. Leave in syrup until cold, and then refrigerate for 24 hours. Prepared this way pears can be preserved in refrigerator for 2 days.
5. Serve in low bowls with with one teaspoon of Pelješac Varenik on top. If Pelješac Varenik is not available reduce the wine where you cooked pears.

Recipes, styling & photo: Little Chef
Ingredients: Little Market

Little Chef spins the cooking spoon and new recipes are there – next creation from our little kitchen is coming soon. Enjoy your meal. Little Chef and Little Market wish you happy taste buds.

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