Pears in pomegranate wine with honey and lemon thyme

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Pears in pomegranate wine with honey and lemon thyme
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
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On Rosh Hashanah Jews from all over the world devote some element of their holiday menu to symbolic foods. The foods can be eating by themselves and also incorporated into different dishes. One of the seven species of Israel, the pomegranate holds great symbolic richness and, due to its numerous seed, or arils, it is often eaten as a symbol of the many good deeds one hopes to do during the coming year. Here, pomegranate wine is used as a poaching liquid and then to make a brilliantly hued, sweet-tart sauce for the pears.

From the story: Rosh Hashana traditions, with twists


Up to 3 days before Rosh Hashana, mix together the honey, lemon thyme pieces and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.


Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact. Cut a slice off the bottom of each pear so it can stand.


Pour the wine into a wide-bottomed pot and add the allspice and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Place the pears on their sides in the pot, cover and cook over medium-low heat about 20 minutes or until the pears are tender when pierced with a toothpick. Turn them gently with a spoon several times during the cooking process. Let the pears cool in the cooking liquid, turning occasionally.


Remove the pears from the cooking liquid and bring the cooking liquids to a boil. Cook over medium heat until the liquid thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes. Pour the liquid over the pears, then cover and refrigerate until just before serving time, turning the pears occasionally.


Before serving, bring the pears to room temperature. Stand each pear in the middle of a plate, pour over about a tablespoon of the honey mixture, place 1 to 2 of the lemon thyme sprigs at the base or over the top and serve.

Cane and turbinado sugar can be found at cooking and specialty stores, as well as at well-stocked markets.

Lemon thyme, a lemon-scented version of the thyme plant, is available at farmers’ markets and at specialty grocers. If none is available, substitute regular thyme and 2 to 3 slices of fresh lemon, or rosemary.
Make Ahead:
The honey should be steeped with the thyme 1 to 3 days in advance. This can be stored well-chilled in the refrigerator.