3 must-try recipes designed around one underrated fruit

Mar 31 2021, 8:22 am

There’s no need to keep making the same old sourdough recipe you discovered last March. It’s been a year of cooking and baking from home, and your go-to meals might be feeling a little uninspiring. Introducing new ingredients to the kitchen is a great way to spice it up for yourself and anyone else at the table.

Start by replacing that old sourdough with a scrumptious loaf of pear, gorgonzola, and walnut bread. Pears are so much more versatile than we give them credit for, naturally complementing everything from salads to sandwiches and pies. The juicy fruits are packed with nutrients, but their flavour is refreshingly light. At 100 calories per pear, they pack plenty of fibre (more fibre than the top 20 most popular fruits), are a source of vitamin C, and of course, are free of sodium, fat, and cholesterol.

The six grams of fibre in each medium pear is important for gut and heart health, too. Most of the fibre and antioxidants in pears are found in their skin, so include the skin to enjoy the full benefits. Even better, the type of antioxidants in pears, known as flavonoids, have been linked to brain health benefits. But the fruit isn’t just a healthy food, and it’s not just for fall. You can find pears in the grocery store year-round, and they can work with anything from appetizers to meals and desserts, depending on your tastes.

Chances are you haven’t worked with pears extensively in the kitchen yet, so there’s lots of new ground to cover. Get inspired with these simple, incredibly delicious recipes.

Pear burrata salad

Pear burrata salad/USA Pears

Don’t let its simplicity fool you. This salad is dream-worthy, with thinly-sliced pears spread over a bed of spicy baby arugula topped with dollops of creamy burrata or mozzarella cheese. Add a vinaigrette to dress and you have a delectable starter or a filling, nutritious main dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 Anjou pears, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. burrata cheese (4 mini)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely minced
  • 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp stone-ground mustard
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crushed candied walnuts

Directions:

Arrange the arugula on a serving platter. Top with the pears and burrata cheese. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, onion, vinegar, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle some dressing over the salad, garnish with candied walnuts, and serve immediately with additional dressing on the side.

Pear pizza with brie cheese and rosemary

Pear pizza with brie cheese and rosemary/USA Pears

Pear pizza is one of the most flavourful, indulgent meals you can make with the fruit, and it doesn’t disappoint. Brie and pears go together wonderfully already, but the rosemary adds subtle depth and flavour that ties it all together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza dough
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into four pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Anjou pears, thinly sliced
  • ½ piece brie cheese, sliced
  • 2 rosemary branches, the leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Mix the tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil. Place them in an oven-proof pan and bake them at 400°F for 30 minutes; blend and season with salt and pepper. Stretch the pizza dough and make one large or two small pizzas. Spread tomato sauce and add pear slices, cheese, rosemary, and a little pepper. Bake them at 430°F for eight minutes or until they are golden brown.

Baked stuffed pears

Baked stuffed pears/USA Pears

Simple but still satisfyingly sweet and plump, these baked stuffed pears are a wholesome, classy dessert you can make any time. The slightly spicy Bosc pears hold their shape in the oven, making them ideal for baking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 Bosc pears
  • 2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp minced crystallized ginger
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about five minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Cut each pear lengthwise, scoop out the core with a melon baller, and expand the opening to about 1 ½ inches.

In a small bowl, blend the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Mix in the walnuts, cranberries, and ginger. Spoon the filling into the centers of the pears. Place the filled pears in a baking pan just large enough to hold them snugly. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the honey, water, and lemon juice. Pour around the pears in the baking dish. Bake until the pears are tender when pierced, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and serve with the pan juices.


For something a little on the lighter side, check out this list of appetizers and side dishes featuring pears as the star of the show. Get creative and make your own pear jelly candies, pear honey, or a spiced poached pear cocktail with rosemary — or keep it real simple with baked brie and Red Anjou pears or Bosc pear chips. You can even make dog treats for your furry friends.

If you’re enjoying cooking with pears, be sure to explore the different varieties like Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou, and Comice — each has its own distinctive colour, flavour, and texture. USA Pears, which are grown in Oregon and Washington, make up approximately 70% of pears that are imported to Canada and help with supply when locally grown pears are not available. Visit usapears.org to discover more recipes and tips. 

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