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Cooking

3 recipes for meals with pears

Recipes for fall’s other star fruit.

Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Espresso powder and brandy, bourbon, or rum add depth to a chocolate sauce for gently poached pears.

EASY CHOCOLATE PEARS, A LA JACQUES PEPIN

Serves 4

Adapted from Sweet Simplicity, by Jacques Pepin.

2 tablespoons sugar

Salt

4 ripe but firm Bosc, Bartlett, or Anjou pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved, and cored

cup very finely chopped high-quality bittersweet chocolate (about 3 ounces)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional

1½ tablespoons brandy, bourbon, or rum, optional

Ice cream or cookies, for serving

In a large skillet with a cover, over medium-high heat, stir 1 cup water, the sugar, and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the pears, cut sides up, baste with the mixture, adjust heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until pears are tender, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on the size and ripeness of the pears). Remove the pears to a bowl and set aside.

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Adjust heat to medium-high, bring liquid to a boil, and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 4 minutes. Add any accumulated liquid from the resting pears and boil 1 minute longer. Adjust heat to low, add the chocolate and the cocoa powder, and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla until the butter is melted and incorporated fully. Whisk in the espresso powder and brandy, bourbon, or rum, if using; set aside to cool slightly, about 15 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly as it cools). Re-whisk the sauce, divide the pears among 4 shallow bowls, top each with a portion of the sauce, and serve at once with ice cream or cookies.

 

TIP: Use a teaspoon measure to core halved pears easily and neatly.

jim sherer

TIP: Use a teaspoon measure to core halved pears easily and neatly.

CREAMY ESPRESSO-CARDAMOM PEARS

Serves 4

cup fresh espresso or very dark coffee

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Salt

4 ripe but firm Bosc, Bartlett, or Anjou pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved, and cored

cup heavy cream

teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liqueur, optional

Ice cream or cookies, for serving 

In a large skillet with a cover, over medium-high heat, stir cup water, the espresso or coffee, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the pears, cut sides up, baste with the mixture, adjust heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until pears are tender, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on the size and ripeness of the pears). Remove the pears to a bowl and set aside.

Adjust heat to medium-high, bring liquid to a boil, and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 4 minutes. Add the cream, cardamom, and any accumulated liquid from the resting pears, whisk to combine, return to a boil, and cook, whisking, until reduced to ½ cup, about 3½ minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and Kahlua or liqueur, if using. Divide the pears among 4 shallow bowls, top each with a portion of the sauce, and serve at once with ice cream or cookies.

 

BUTTERSCOTCH PEARS

Serves 4

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup packed light brown sugar

Salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ripe but firm Bosc, Bartlett, or Anjou pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, halved, and cored

cup heavy cream

1½ tablespoons Scotch whiskey, optional

Ice cream or cookies, for serving 

In a large skillet with a cover, over medium-high heat, cook the butter, brown sugar, ½ cup water, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon vanilla, whisking constantly, until butter and sugar are melted and the mixture is uniform and beginning to bubble around the edges of the skillet. Add the pears, cut sides up, baste with the mixture, adjust heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until pears are tender, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on the size and ripeness of the pears). Remove the pears to a bowl and set aside.

Adjust heat to medium-high, bring liquid to a boil, and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 4 minutes. Add the cream and any accumulated liquid from the resting pears, whisk to combine, return to a boil, and cook, whisking, until reduced to cup, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla and the whiskey, if using. Cool the sauce slightly, about 5 minutes. Divide the pears among 4 shallow bowls, top each with a portion of the sauce, and serve at once with ice cream or cookies.

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