Lately we’ve been seeing more and more varieties of pears in our local stores and markets. What better way to showcase the pear than in a dessert? One of my favorite culinary techniques, and possibly one of the simplest ones: Roasting is fantastic for drawing out all those natural sugars of fruits and vegetables.
But with all the varieties, do you know when to use which pears? Below, thanks to USA Pears (usapears.org), we’ve narrowed it down to our top five pears for the holiday season:
- Anjou pear: Known as the all-purpose pear, its dense flesh holds up to high-heat applications like roasting and grilling, but it works well with poaching and baking as well.
- Bosc pear: With an intense honey flavor notes, this pear isn’t likely to be overwhelmed with all the seasonal spices, so it’s great for baking in breads and poaching.
- Comice pear: The juiciest of pears, it’s best eaten raw, since the flesh comes apart easily. This is the pear you want sliced on a holiday cheese platter.
- Bartlett pear: It’s known as the “canning pear.” Use this season’s Bartletts to make preserves, syrups, and chutneys.
- Seckel pear: The smallest of commercially harvested pears, the Seckel is best for snacking — its cuteness overwhelms the best of us.
Roast Pears with Wine Syrup and Vanilla Bean Yogurt
⅔ cup Chardonnay
1 orange, zested and juiced
4 cardamom pods, crushed
⅓ cup granulated sugar
4 Bartlett pears
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup vanilla bean yogurt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice pears lengthwise, removing the core but leaving the peel.
Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15 to 25 minutes, until soft.
Simmer the wine, orange juice and zest, cardamom pods, and sugar for 5 to 10 minutes, until sugar is dissolved and the liquid reduces to a syrup. Set aside.
To serve: Place the pear halves in a small bowl, drizzle with wine syrup, and dollop vanilla bean yogurt on top. This can be served warm or at room temperature.