Poached pears in muscat wine + how I improved my editing skills

by Paula Casimiro
paula casimiro photography poached pears in muscat wine
The first picture I took for my first food blog was with my mobile phone, in my kitchen and under the kitchen hood lights. Sometimes, when I need to pat my self-esteem on the back, I still look at that image as a proof that anything is possible if you set your mind on something and work hard towards your goals.

Looking back, I can pinpoint three specific moments when my images actually got better, i.e. when I can clearly see that there is a before and an after. The first was when I got a DSLR camera and, above all, when I finally lost fear and took the time to learn how to shoot in manual mode. This was a breakthrough because being in control of your camera is the first step to be in control of your image.

The second moment was when I started to shoot RAW so I could do some adjustments afterwards in post processing. This is how a photographer can bring an image closer to his artistic vision, although in food photography we don’t want our food to look unnatural or unappetizing, of course. For me, editing is a big part of the fun, but at a certain point in time I got stuck, I didn’t seem to be able to evolve anymore. I was always doing the same type of editing, basically setting the white balance in auto mode and playing with the exposure and contrast sliders. I did find some Lightroom tutorials online but the majority were not targeting food photography, and there are some specificities about editing different types of photography, and ususally they would present how a specific photographer did his editing without explaining why he decided to do it like that. So, when I tried to apply similar edits to my own images, most of the time I wouldn’t be happy with the final results.

Thus, the third milestone in my food photography journey was when I decided to invest in my training and education and enrolled in Rachel’s course Lightroom Magic. I already knew Rachel Korinek from her website Two Loves Studio, which is full of amazing resources for food photographers in case you don’t know it, but this course really exceeded my expectations. Besides all the valuable information that I got from the course, Rachel is an amazing teacher and explains the whys behind things and how to achieve the desired outcome using different tools in Lightroom. In the end, I’ve not only gained editing skills, I also gained more confidence in my work and I felt empowered to create my own editing workflows.

paula casimiro photography poached pears in muscat winepaula casimiro photography poached pears in muscat wine

In these images you can see the difference between the raw image, on the left, and the final edited image, on the right. You probably noticed that I love moodier images, but before Lightroom Magic I wouldn’t be able to get this look. I basically knew how to change the overall exposure of an image but, if I did just that in this particular image, these pears would have become underexposed and loose that beautiful shine.

Here you can see another example. This picture is from the blueberry ice cream recipe I published in the summer. Can you see the difference? It took me maybe ten minutes to edit this image, not more, but before going through Lightroom Magic lessons I would have take much more time and probably without reaching the same result. Actually, it feels pretty good to open Lightroom, look at the picture I’m going to edit and know where to start. There is more than one way to edit colors or achieve contrast and if you have the capacity to set your own workflow then your images will fit your style and become more unique and authentic.

paula casimiro photography blueberry ice cream

Overall, I can tell you that Lightroom Magic has allowed me to create images that are closer to my vision, be in control of my editing process – no more guessing or blindly applying presets, pursue new opportunities with my work – I actually got my first paying client for food photography work just after taking this course, and also receive more engagement with my work online.

I decided to write about this course today because Lightroom Magic is opening again for enrolment. Not only the course has been updated and I am excited to check the additional materials (students get life access to the course and to future updated editions), but it is also a great opportunity for those of you who want to improve your editing skills.

Click here to go to the Lightroom Magic page. There you can assess for yourself if this is the right course for you.

Plus, as a former student, I have the possibility to offer the following free bonus content to all of you who enrol in Lightroom Magic using the above link: Hacks for Lightroom, Keyword + Metadata for Image Exposure Online, Bonus Editing Process from the community and a Feedback Session (QA + Feedback on your edits).

If you decide to invest and raise your food photography game, I am sure you will find Lightroom Magic as amazingly helpful as I did.

Now, let’s move to the recipe. Finally the weather got chiller in Lisbon and it feels like autumn. The exuberance of summer fruits is now well behind us and we’re left with the more earthy and humble fall produce. However, there’s so much we can do with pears or apples and pairing them with stronger flavors, like spices, is always a good idea. So, the first fall recipe this year is a simple dessert which I just elevated a little by poaching the pears in muscat wine. I also used dark muscovado sugar and the wine and the sugar combined gave the pears this rich caramel color. If you can, plan to make this dessert on the day before and let the pears refrigerate overnight in the poaching liquid to steep all the flavors. On the next day, boil the poaching liquid until reduced to a sticky syrup and serve it with the poached pears, warm or cold.

Poached pears in muscat wine


This looks like a fancy dessert but is still quite simple to make. If you have time, make it the day before and let the pears refrigerate overnight in the poaching liquid to steep all the flavors.

Prep Time: | Cook Time: | Total:

Serves: 4


  • 4 medium pears, firm not very ripe
  • 5 dl muscat wine
  • 5 dl water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anises
  • 2 orange peels
  • 300 g dark muscovado sugar


  1. Peel the pears, leaving the stalk intact.
  2. Place the pears into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for approximately one hour and half, or until the pears are tender, which will depend on how ripe were they. To check if the pears are cooked, take a paring knife and gently push it into the middle of the fruit. If it feels soft, they are cooked. If the pears are not fully covered by the poaching liquid, take note to turn them around every 15 minutes during cooking, so they cook evenly.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool. The poached pears will taste even better if they refrigerate overnight in the poaching liquid to steep the flavors, but this is optional.
  4. Before serving, remove the pears from the fridge and set aside to bring to room temperature.
  5. Boil the poaching liquid until reduced to a sticky syrup. Serve the poached pears with the muscat syrup.

paula casimiro photography poached pears in muscat wine
Please notice that I was not paid to write this post, however, it does contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an affiliate link, I receive a commission on the sale, with no extra costs for you, which will go to support the blog’s maintenance costs and contribute to the quality of the website and its content. Only affiliates for products/services I believe in and that align with my values appear on this site and I paid myself for these products. All opinions are my own.



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