Caramelized Pear Tarte Tatin on white parchment paper set on a dark wood table
Don’t Sleep on Pears – They Shine in These Seasonal Desserts

Apples and pumpkins seem to get all the glory in the fall and winter months, but pears should not be overlooked. They make for delectable, nuanced desserts when delicately spiced with the usual suspects of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. A pear’s soft, sweet flesh provides moisture and just the right amount of texture to cakes and tarts. Serve one at your next gathering for a sophisticated and delicious end to the evening.

A note on the variety of pear to use in these recipes: I prefer either Bartlett or Bosc. I find Anjou pears can remain too firm after cooking, and sometimes develop a mealy texture when used in cakes, pies or crisps. If necessary, you can substitute Bosc for Barlett and vice versa, understanding that Bartlett will cook up a little bit softer, and bosc will retain a bit more structure. Comice pears have loads of moisture, and should not be used in these recipes. As far as peeling goes, if you like a more rustic result you may absolutely leave the skin on in any of these desserts.

Glazed Pear Cake

Adapted from Epicurious
Years ago when I came across this recipe on Epicurious, I immediately fell in love. But I’ve never made it the way it is written, as the recipe is flawed, plus I prefer the taste of butter in my baked goods instead of oil, which the original recipe called for. This recipe is adapted from the original, but is almost like an entirely new cake… except for the glaze. It is genius to reduce pear nectar, heavy cream and sugar on the stove top to a syrupy sauce that gets spooned over the warm cake, though I do cut down the amount of sugar originally called for to tame the sweetness. Bosc pears are best here, but firm Bartlett pears will work as well.
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Pear & Chocolate Friand

If you’ve never made a friand, you’ll fall in love once you do. Not only is it simple to put together, you can use a wide variety of fruit with great success. My cookbook contains a cranberry version that is so good during the holidays. Here, pears take center stage in an almond flour laced batter that cooks up tender and custardy on the inside, with the most delicious crusty lid that will keep you coming back. I’ve studded this one with chocolate chunks… because pears and chocolate are divine of course. Serve warm with a little vanilla ice cream.
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Caramelized Pear Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin has to be one of the most spectacular French desserts, made all the more amazing due to its minimal ingredients list and ease of preparation. Quite simply the fruit is placed on the bottom of a skillet with butter and sugar, topped with puff pastry and baked until the layers are browned and crackling crispy. It is then turned out onto a plate so that the fruit is right side up again, creating a beautiful display. Traditionally it is made with apples, but many types of fruit will do. Even savory tarts are delicious, like the endive version from my cookbook. A pear Tarte Tatin is one of my favorite sweet versions, and with this shortcut skillet caramel sauce, will become one of yours as well.
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Pear & Candied Ginger Crisp

Everyone loves a fruit crisp, and this is one for ginger lovers. With a hint of molasses it nods toward gingerbread, but not enough to overpower the delicate pear flavor. You can make it a few hours ahead of time, but make sure to reheat it before serving. Vanilla ice cream is a must with this dessert, it mellows the acidity of the pears, and its best when gently melting into the warm pear crisp.
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