Muesli with spiced honey poached pears and rhubarb

Breakfast posts do not feature very regularly on this site. This is largely because I am fairly boring when it comes to breakfast, and I have the same routine most weekdays: home made muesli with yoghurt, whatever fruit we have in the fruit bowl and, unless I’m running out of time, some kind of smoothie. Occasionally on the weekends I mix it up with some eggs, but usually we head across the road to brunch at our favourite local, Suzie Q.

Bircher muesli with rhubarb and poached pears

Spoon on the rhubarb compote, hand modelling by Barthje

After inundating you with photos of our trip over the past few weeks, I thought it was time to instead share a version of my muesli recipe. I usually make the muesli with an assortment of oats, nuts, seeds, bran and/or dried fruits, depending on what we have in the cupboard that week. This week I’ve kept the muesli simple, but spiced it up with some tart stewed rhubarb, aromatic poached pears, crunchy walnuts and, to counter the cool weather we have been experiencing this week, warming sweet broth.


Warming bircher muesli

The recipe for the muesli mix below will make more than enough for a week of breakfasts, as with the rhubarb, but the pear and serving measurements will work well for one breakfast for two people. I usually prepare the muesli on Sunday when I have more time, so it can be quickly assembled in the morning to maximise sleep time. Which is especially important on these busy days, with dark, cold mornings. If you are in the northern hemisphere at present, to transform this into a spring or summer time breakfast, chill the pear liquid overnight – it will be just as good!


Bircher muesli with poached pears and rhubarb


Muesli mix

  • 475g rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 100g dried shredded coconut
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g walnuts

Rhubarb compote

  • 6 stalks rhubarb, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure rosewater

Poached pears

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 pears (Beurre bosc, Williams, Packhams), peeled, quartered and cored
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick

To serve

  • 2/3 cup – 1 cup Greek yoghurt (or other unsweetened yoghurt of choice)
  • A couple of walnuts, toasted


  1. Make the muesli the day before by mixing all muesli ingredients in a large glass jar.  Once mixed, scoop out 1.5 cups of the muesli mix and place in a bowl.  Stir in the yoghurt until it is combined, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Prepare the rhubarb compote: add the rhubarb, 1/4 cup of water, the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla to a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes until the rhubarb is soft, and then add the rosewater.  Remove from heat and set aside (if you are not serving this straight away, spoon into a jar and keep in the fridge).
  3. Prepare the pears: add honey, sugar and 1 litre of water to a medium sized saucepan, stir until the sugar is combined and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Add the half lemon, star anise, vanilla bean and cinnamon and then the pears.  Keep the pears submerged by placing a circle of baking paper over the saucepan (directly on top of the liquid). Simmer for 15-25 minutes (depending on the type of pear and size).  Once tender, scoop out the pears.  Keep the liquid simmering for another 20 minutes or so until it is reduced to about half.  Set aside.
  4. To serve: if you prepared the pears the day before, warm up the reduced liquid over medium heat for a few minutes.  Scoop the bircher muesli into two bowls, and top with 4 pear quarters and a spoon of rhubarb per bowl.  Finish by pouring over the warm, poached pear liquid and sprinkle on some toasted walnuts.
Muesli with spiced honey poached pears and rhubarb thumbnail image Bircher muesli with tart rhubarb, sweet spiced pears and a warming pear breakfast broth 30min

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