What to Make with Pears

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Pears don’t always have to be sweet. Photo credit: Flickr/grongar

Peeled, poached and transformed into tarts, pears are an unsung hero of the fall bounty. Some might like them crunchy, some might prefer a mealy texture, but either way, pears don’t need to be drenched in alcohol to be enjoyable. (Though we’re not against it).

A cabernet-soaked and spiced pear with a dollop of cream is always in style (and simple for big dinner parties) but there’s no harm in broadening your repertoire. This week, I rounded up some of the best pear recipes from around the web. Some are classic and sweet, while others are surprisingly savory and substantial. And as we snuggle into sweaters and tuck away those form fitting bathing suits, I don’t hold back on the cheese: 

  • Pear and ginger vinaigrette — Bon Appétit
    Think of this recipe as the wading pool of pear recipes. Kind of like dipping a toe in, just to test out the waters. Asian pears are not necessary; Bosc pears are a great substitute. Try the vinaigrette on a frisée salad with a poached egg, or even over fish.
  • Bacon, pear and blue cheese macaroniAdventures in Cooking
    In complete honesty, I will always advocate for macaroni and cheese. The mélange of the slightly sweet caramelized onions melding with the tang of blue cheese tangled with buttery noodles is the perfect rainy-night (or any night really) dinner. Make a lot though, because there will be a fight for leftovers.
  • Drop biscuit pear cobbler — Bon Appétit
    Cobblers are a classic fall dessert, and for good reason. To transform into a crowd-pleaser, bake this in a large cast iron or ceramic dish and top with large dollops of biscuit dough.
  • Cocoa pear crisps — Food52
    A healthier alternative to potato chips. If stored in an airtight container, the crisps should last for a week or so, if it takes that long for them to be devoured. Take them on-the-go, too.
  • Pickled pears with lemon — Saveur
    Fall’s the season to start stocking up on pickled veggies and fruits to nibble on throughout the winter. Try adding a teaspoon of mustard for added zest.
  • Cucumber, pear and fennel salad — Bon Appétit
    This is a light salad that’s suitable for an unseasonably warm day, or as a meal to counterbalance any additional Halloween treats that may magically slip out of the office candy bowl and into your hands.
  • Eggplant, pear and pecorino salad — Food & Wine
    Sharp cheese and pears are a typical pairing in Italy. For a crunchier salad, grill the pears along with the eggplant. The natural sugar in the pears will caramelize, adding a little sweetness to this savory meal.
  • Beer braised pork belly salad — Saveur
    Beer and pork belly — enough said. For when a regular salad just won’t cut it.
  • Pear and potato gratin — Food52
    This isn’t your grandmother’s potato gratin, and if it is, she is supreme. Pears and potatoes have a similar texture, so upon the first few bites only a skimming of sugar is noticeable. By the end, you’ll wonder why adding pears never crossed your mind. One more tip: do not skimp out on the cheese.
  • Cacio e pere ravioli — Saveur
    Pear, cheese and pasta: a trifecta. If mascarpone is too rich for you, try substituting ricotta for a lighter and more crumbly texture.
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