Incorporate pears into everyday fall meals

This juicy fruit can add sweetness and nutrition to almost every dessert, snack and savory dish on the table

In addition to apples, pears are a delicious fall fruit that’s ready for harvesting.

They are ideal for snacking fresh off the tree or can be cooked or baked into a wide variety of tasty treats.

Although pears are often used in desserts, they can also be found in beverages, appetizers, salads, baked goods, side dishes and entrees.

There are more than 3,000 varieties of this delicious, juicy fuit available, but a few are common throughout the area.

Bosc pears are large, slender pears with a rough brown skin. They hold their shape well when cooked, so are an excellent choice for baked dishes.

Bartlett pears, rounded globes with soft, tender skin, come in red and yellow varieties. They are ideal for eating out of hand because they are tender and juicy.

Anjou pears, which are either red or green, are juicy, good for baking or eating fresh.

The expensive and hard-to-find Comice is considered the best tasting, juiciest pear while Seckel pears are tasty and tiny.

Although a Bartlett’s skin color brightens as it ripens, most varieties show little change in color as they mature. The best way to judge how ripe they are is to check the neck of the pear. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe.

If the pear you’ve bought isn’t ripe, leave it out at room temperature and it will slowly ripen. Speed up the process by placing pears near other ripening fruit, such as bananas, that give off ethylene.

Once ripe, pears should be refrigerated and used within five days.

Pears are nutritious, high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, as well as Vitamin C, fiber and potassium.

Following are recipes for pears from

Shrimp Tacos With Pear and Cabbage Slaw

For filling:
1 cup green salsa
1 tablespoon honey
1-1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
For slaw:
1/2 small head green cabbage, very thinly sliced
2 firm ripe pears, such as Red Anjou, julienned or diced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 corn tortillas, warmed
Additional salsa verde for serving

    For filling, place salsa verde and honey into a large saucepan and warm over medium heat. Once sauce is simmering, stir and add shrimp. Cook four to five minutes, stirring often, until shrimp are just pink and firm. Turn off heat, stir in the chopped herbs and set aside.
    For slaw, combine sliced cabbage and julienned pears in a medium bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the top and sprinkle with salt. Gently toss the ingredients to combine.
    Place a large spoonful of shrimp into each warmed tortilla. Top with cabbage and pear slaw. Serve with additional salsa verde, if desired.


Pear and Blueberry Pie Bars

For crust:
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla
For filling:
3 slightly underripe pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 pound blueberries
For topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats

    Combine crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse about 10 times, until mixture has a mealy texture. Scatter mixture in an even layer across the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan that’s been lined with parchment paper. Press crumbs firmly to form crust. Poke the crust with a fork all over to prevent rising, and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
    Peel and slice pears, then toss gently with lemon juice.
    For streusel, combine all of the ingredients except the oats in a food processor and pulse about 10 times. Transfer to a medium bowl, add oats and mix thoroughly using your hands. Transfer streusel topping to the refrigerator to chill.
    Lay the pear slices on top of the crust in a single layer, overlapping slightly if necessary. Scatter blueberries evenly over the pears. Crumble chilled streusel over the top, then bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the blueberries are bubbling and the streusel has lightly browned.
    Cool at least 30 minutes before carefully removing bars from the pan. For best results, cool completely before slicing into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Chai-Spiced Baked Oatmeal With Poached Pears

2 cups milk
2 chai tea bags
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 firm ripe pear, such as Bosc or Anjou
For garnish:
1 ripe pear, such as Concorde or Anjou
1/2 cup fresh berries, such as raspberries or blueberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    Pour milk into a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat until steaming. Add teabags, cover and steep five minutes.
    Combine eggs and yolks in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly with a fork.
    Once the tea has infused the milk, remove and discard teabags. Add brown sugar to the hot milk and stir to dissolve. Add the cold whipping cream, followed by the beaten eggs and salt. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
    Divide oats evenly between six 6 to 8-ounce ramekins. Peel the pear and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Divide pear between the ramekins, then pour custard into the ramekins, filling them evenly.
    Place ramekins in a baking pan and pour boiling water into the pan until it comes halfway up the sides. Cover loosely with foil, transfer to a 325-degree oven and bake 20 minutes.
    Check the custards for doneness. This is most easily done by pulling back the foil and gently shaking the pan. If the centers are still jiggly, they need more cooking time. Continue to check every five minutes until the centers are just set.
    Once set, carefully remove pan from the oven, then remove ramekins from the hot water bath individually using tongs or a kitchen towel.
    Serve baked oatmeal hot or warm with slices of fresh, ripe pears and a few of your favorite berries.


Pear Compote With Earl Grey and Vanilla

1 cup boiling water
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1 orange
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
3/4 cup sugar
3 firm ripe pears, such as Comice or Red Anjou, small dice

    Place tea bags into boiling water and steep two to three minutes to make a very strong tea. Remove teabags and discard.
    Peel two long strips of zest from the orange using a vegetable peeler. Stack them on top of one another and slice on a diagonal into very thin strips. Slice orange in half and squeeze the juice into a medium saucepan.
    Add tea, orange zest strips and vanilla paste to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer, uncovered, for five to seven minutes until reduced by half.
    Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Return to a simmer and cook two minutes but no longer to lightly caramelize the sugar. Stir in the diced pears, cover and cook another five to seven minutes, until the pears are just tender. Allow to cool one hour, then transfer to a pint jar, being sure pears are submerged in the syrup. Refrigerate. The compote will thicken considerably as the mixture cools.
    Store in the refrigerator for as long as one month.

Savory Pear and Gruyere Tart

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick half moon slices
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed according to package directions
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
2 gently packed cups arugula or baby kale
2 firm Anjou pears that are just beginning to ripen

    Place olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and swirl to coat pan. Add onion, rosemary and a generous pinch of salt and cook about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the slices are tender brown and caramelized.
    Lightly flour work surface, then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to an 11-by-15-inch rectangle. Transfer dough to a baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Moisten the perimeter of the dough with a little water, then fold the edges over to form a 3/4-inch wide border.
    Lay cooked onion slices over the surface of the tart inside the border. Scatter cheese over the onion and lay the arugula on top.
    Quarter each pear off of the core, then lay the pieces, flesh-side down, on a cutting board and cut into 1/16-inch slices. Arrange slices in three rows down the length of the tart, overlapping about 1/4-inch. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the pears.
    Bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Check once or twice during baking and if a section of dough puffs up notably, poke it with the tip of a knife to deflate.
    Cool for a few minutes and serve.
    Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.


Baked Pear Trail Mix

2 medium pears, unpeeled, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup peanut or almond butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

    Place diced pears in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice, then stir to coat the pears. Add oats, almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds.
    In a small bowl, mix together peanut or almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, water and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.
    Mix butter-maple syrup mixture into the pear-oat-nut mixture, combining well to moisten dry ingredients.
    Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, then spread trail mix evenly in the pan. Bake on top rack of a 275-degree oven for 1-1/2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. Turn off oven and keep pan in oven for an additional hour to dry pears.
    Remove from oven and transfer to an airtight container.


Ginger Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes and Pears

3 medium-large beets, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 large sweet potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
2 ripe but still firm green Anjou pears
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 to 2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, optional

    In a mixing bowl, combine beets, onion, garlic, ginger, salt and about 1 tablespoon avocado oil. Toss until vegetables are coated with oil. Spread evenly on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes.
    Combine sweet potatoes, pears, thyme, salt and remaining oil in bowl. Add sweet potatoes and pears to the baking sheet and mix to combine. Place mixture back into the oven and roast an additional 40 to 50 minutes, tossing mixture halfway through baking.
    Add salt to taste after cooking and garnish with fresh parsley.


Pear Breakfast Popovers

1/4 cup butter
2 firm ripe pears, such as green Anjou or Bosc, medium dice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Maple syrup for serving

    Melt butter in the microwave in a medium bowl for about 30 seconds. Dip the corner of a paper towel in the butter and lightly grease a 12-muffin tin, including about 1/2 inch around the edges of each muffin cup.
     Place diced pears and cinnamon in the bowl with the butter and gently stir to combine. Divide pear mixture between the muffin cups and bake in a 425-degree oven for five minutes.
     Place eggs, milk and vanilla in a blender and blend five seconds to mix.
     Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl and add to the blender. Cover and blend about 10 seconds, scraping down the sides if necessary, until thoroughly combined.
     Remove muffin tin from oven and immediately pour batter over the pears, leaving about 1/4 inch of room at the top of each muffin cup. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until popovers have puffed up and are beginning to turn golden brown.
     Loosen popovers from the tin and serve immediately, topping each popover with any bits of pear that remain in the tin and drizzling with maple syrup, if desired.


Pulled Pork and Pear Tacos With Pear Pico de Gallo

3-1/2 pounds pork shoulder or butt
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large ripe pears, peeled and chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
4 canned chipotle chiles with a little extra sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
For pico de gallo:
1-1/2 cups finely diced  green Bartlett pear
1 cup finely diced jicama
4 finely minced green onions
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2 minced jalapeños
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt
Corn or flour tortillas, for serving
1 avocado, sliced
Sour cream, for serving

    Cut pork into four large chunks and season with salt, chile powder, cumin and pepper, coating all sides. Put pork in a slow cooker and add pears, onion, cilantro, chipotle chiles and garlic. Squeeze lime juice over everything. Cover and cook eight to 10 hours on low or four to six hours on high, until the meat easily shreds.
    Shred meat in the slow cooker using two forks, discarding any fatty pieces.
    Mix pico de gallo ingredients in a small bowl as many as two hours before serving.
    Serve pulled pork in warmed tortillas topped with avocado, sour cream and pico de gallo, as desired.
    Leftover meat will keep in the refrigerator for as long as four days or frozen as long as six months.


Fresh Pears and Buratta Cheese With Hazelnut Mint Pesto

1 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus more for brushing
2 4-ounce balls burrata cheese, drained
3 large pears

    Combine mint, hazelnuts, garlic and salt in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. With the motor running, drizzle the oil in to make a loose sauce. Add lemon juice and process to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
    Just before serving, cut pears lengthwise into four 1/4-inch-thick planks, reserving the bulbous edges for another use. Use a paring knife, cut the core from the middle slices. Brush the planks on both sides with lemon juice to prevent browning. Tear each burrata ball into six chunks and place a piece on each pear. Spoon the pesto on top and serve immediately.
    Pesto will keep in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface to prevent browning for as long as three days.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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