Pears Are Massively Underrated—These Recipes Show Why You Should Cook with Them
How come pears don't get more attention? They're delicious in so many dishes and boast more fiber, potassium, and folate than apples. Our favorite pear recipes, from soups to salads to main courses and plenty of desserts, let the versatile fruit really shine.
"A good pear is well worth eating," said a gentleman dining alone in a restaurant one evening, as the waiter watched him carefully peel a ripe pear, the skin spiraling gently to his plate. Next, he sliced it and speared it with a fork. Juice dripped. The perfect dessert. There is a secret to eating pears, and it is deprivation. Not the suffering kind, but the seasonal kind. Pears ripen from late summer through fall; go pear-less until then, wait until they are perfectly ripe, and you will understand this fragrant and versatile fruit.
Pears are hard when they arrive at market because they ripen off the tree, from the inside out. Apply thumb pressure at the stem end of a pear to test for ripeness: When it's ready to be enjoyed, it will yield. There are many varieties of pear, each with their own shape, color, texture, and character. Treat yourself, and plan a pear tasting (perhaps with a side of palate-cleansing cheese).
There are countless ways to enjoy this late-season fruit. While dessert is probably your first thought (which does make sense, especially because the possibilities for using this fruit in sweet applications are endless), pears are also fabulous in salads and soups, on sandwiches, as warm appetizers and savory snacks, and as an element in your entrée. The success lies in the pairing (ahem) of ingredients that complement the pear or that are brought into delicious focus by its presence. We have collected our best pear recipes here to give you a taste of pear season and to inspire your next kitchen adventure. Happy cooking!
Red Wine Poached Pears
Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Loin with Pears and Root Vegetables
Scones with Pears, Irish Cheddar and Honey
Slow-Roasted Pear Chips
Coddled Pears with Whiskey
In this decadent dessert the bold flavors sing. Whiskey and orange zest, black strap molasses, and ice cream will make you sit up and beg for more.
Pear and Cranberry Tart
For a seasonal celebration, combine fall's pears with the first cranberries in this delectable tart.
Pears with Goat Cheese and Pomegranate
Olive Oil Cake with Vanilla and Yogurt
Gingerbread Trifle with Cognac Custard and Pears
Butternut and Pear Soup
Sweet Bosc pears are nestled under a crunchy oat-almond topping in this oh-so-simple crisp. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Endive and Pear Salad with Oregon Blue Cheese
Baked Pears with Vanilla Mascarpone
Baking pears concentrates their flavor, and this rustic pear dessert cooks itself while you attend to life. It's mouthwatering and warming, with lashings of mascarpone and a flurry of crumbled biscotti.
Sausage and Pear Stuffing
Pressed Ham and Pear Sandwiches
Pork with Pears and Parsnip Mash
A pillow of buttery mashed potatoes with parsnips is the best bed for browned pieces of seared pork in a pan-gravy fragrant with shallots, pears, and thyme.
Pears and dried figs replace the usual apples in this fresh new take on the rustic dessert. Ground hazelnuts enrich the crust.