Fall is the season for pears, and from cocktails to salads, we’re dishing on all the best ways to enjoy every last drop of the sweet bounty.
Ripe, Juicy Pears
Perfectly ripe pears have no peers: sensuous with a quenching, dripping juiciness and perfumed, honey-buttery sweetness—like the last hurrah of summer's sunshine. Their texture, mealy in the best way, offers a slight give followed by a mouthwatering giving-in. The U.S. crop—grown mostly in Washington and Oregon—comes into full glory in October. If rotund, short-necked Comice is the Cadillac of the pear world, Anjou is the workhorse. Forelle (shown here) and Seckel are petite, fleeting beauties. Grab them while you can!
Honey-Wheat Pizza with Pear-Prosciutto Salad
A showy, crimson-skinned pear is beautiful here, but any pear variety you like will work.
Poached Pear Bread
Impress friends over coffee, or perhaps receive a standing ovation at the breakfast table, with this stunning loaf. It offers a clue to its interior surprise when it comes out of the oven, but when you cut into it, the real magic happens. It’s remarkably easy to make, too.
Cheese and Pear Pork
This is an elegant presentation of a flawless flavor combination. Walnuts, pear, and blue cheese create the filling for pork tenderloin. Serve slices dressed with the sauce over a bed of sweet, fresh spinach and thinly sliced pear.
Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Blue Cheese
Sweet-tangy chutney pairs beautifully with pungent blue cheese and toasty pecans. You can make the chutney up to three days in advance; assemble bruschetta shortly before serving.
Whole Roasted Endives with Pear, Arugula, and Walnut Salad
A red-skinned pear like Starkrimson, red Bartlett, or red Anjou is gorgeous here. If you'd prefer something with a crisp bite, though, try Bosc.
Pear Crisp with Amaretti Topping
Nothing says comfort like a warm crisp or crumble, and ripe, seasonal pears make a delicious base for these easy dishes. Pear Crisp with Amaretti Topping calls for slightly under-ripe, firm pears that will hold up to long cooking time. A crunchy topping of Italian almond macaroons and a dollop of sweetened whipped cream is the crowning touch.
Roasted Pear Crème Brûlée Tart
Ripe, sweet pears are delicious in many desserts. Try using them in places you would use apples, such as in pies, tarts, crisps, and crumbles.
In this impressive tart, the flaky crust, crunchy caramelized sugar, creamy custard, and soft roasted fruit bring all the elements of a divine dessert. You can make all the components ahead of time, and brûlée the pears just before serving.
Candied Walnut, Pear, and Leafy Green SaladPlay pears’ sweetness against bitter endive or radicchio, tangy citrus such as kumquats or oranges, earthy nuts (especially walnuts), and woodsy herbs like fresh thyme or sage.
In this salad, sweet-earthy candied walnuts, bitter radicchio, juicy ripe Anjou pears, and salty capers contrast for delightful fall dish. Serve alongside any meal, and make a double batch of the sugared walnuts for gifts or sweet snacking.
Frangipane Pear Tarts
Sheets of crisp, paper-thin phyllo dough encase a filling of toasted ground almonds, with red-skinned pears as the crowning touch. We call for Anjou, but you can also use Bartlett, Bosc, or Concorde pears.
Fresh Pear Cocktail
The philosophy at Rouge Tomate, a health-mindful restaurant with locations in New York and Brussels, is guided by seasonal ingredients and bright flavors. Beverage Director Pascaline Lepeltier shares this delicious cocktail:
Shred 1 medium Bosc pear; place pulp on several layers of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; squeeze over a glass measuring cup to yield 1/3 cup juice. Discard solids. Combine pear juice, 2 tablespoons citrus-infused vodka, 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, and 1 tablespoon agave syrup (or sugar syrup) in a martini shaker with ice; shake. Strain about 3 tablespoons vodka mixture into each of 2 martini glasses. Top each serving with 1½ tablespoons hard apple cider or cidre doux. Garnish with pear slices. Yield: 2 servings. CAL: 156; FAT: 0.2g (sat 0g); SOD: 5mg
Pear and Gruyère Strata
Think of this as stuffed French toast in a casserole. Here, sweet cinnamon bread meets juicy pears and the savory bite of Gruyère cheese. You want a pear variety that will hold its shape and won't exude too much moisture as the strata bakes—we liked Anjou and Concorde.
Hazelnut, Pear, and Blue Cheese Tart
Here's a beautiful, sophisticated, not-too-sweet dessert that captures the flavors of a great cheese course. If you don't have a rectangular tart pan, you can easily make this in a 9-inch round tart pan. For the boldest blue cheese flavor, go for Maytag or Roquefort; for a subtler effect, try Gorgonzola Dolce.
Serve this simple relish over chicken, fish, or quesadillas, or just spoon into fresh endive spears.
Combine 2 cups chopped red Anjou pear, 1/3 cup sliced kumquat, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon honey; let stand 10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup sliced green olives, 3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots, 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh chives, 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper; toss. Yield: 12 servings (serving size: ¼ cup). CAL: 47; FAT: 2.4g (sat 0.3g); SOD: 105mg
Pears and Blue CheesePears love blue cheese (or brie, and other pungent cheeses), and their honey sweetness is a nice foil for supertart cranberries as well. Serve this combination as a delectable and beautiful appetizer spread with wine or as toppings to a simple salad. We also like it in Stilton-Stuffed Baked Pears for a savory-sweet last course to a special meal.
Peppered Pork and PearsThe next time you cook pork, make homemade pear sauce just as you would fresh applesauce; just substitute pears for apples.
Try this combination in Peppered Pork and Pears where ground mixed peppercorns give a slightly sweet, barely hot flavor to the pork and pear duo. Pear brandy adds an extra hit of pear essence, but if you don’t have it on hand you can substitute regular brandy or additional chicken broth.