Slice of Life: Grin and Pear It

September 17, 2014
Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

pearsYou know how when you were growing up there was always the popular girl or guy that has the almost-as-popular best friend or side kick?

Well, that’s kind of how it is with the apple and the pear. This time of year, most everyone I know is trying their best to incorporate the apple (and let’s not forget the honey) into every aspect of their menu. The pear? Well, not quite as much.

I like apples but I’ll take a really great fresh, succulent and delicious pear over an apple any day. A somewhat sacrilegious opinion during the High Holidays, but the apple and pear can co-exist in complete harmony and offer a great alternative to your same old same old holiday recipes.

There are, surprisingly, over 3,000 pear varieties but only a few that have made it to the supermarket as consumer favorites. Like apples, some are better for cooking and others for eating. In most of the following recipes you can substitute an apple for a pear but make sure the variety you choose is compatible with the rest of the ingredients (sweeter, firmer, tarter etc.)
Much like apples, you want a firm fruit, blemish free and fragrant.

In order to choose the best pear for your recipe the following list of my 5 favorite pears should help pare down your choices. Some of the recipes are great for a main meal and others can be served in the sukkah or when you just want to keep the meal simple.

  • Green and Red Anjou: The Anjou is a terrific eating and cooking pear.
  • Green and Red Bartlett: Juicy, creamy and sweet are the adjectives I’d use to describe a Bartlett. It turns from bright green to golden as it ripens.
  • Bosc: Very distinctive dark golden, rough skin is the trademark of the Bosc. Great fresh, poached or in a salad.
  • Comic: Kind of roundish with a short neck and sort of reddish in spots. VERY sweet. I love pairing this pear with cheese
  • Seckel: Smaller, crunchy and very sweet. Green with a slight red/maroon cast. Eat these, don’t’ cook with them

Pear and Turkey Sandwich on Rye (meat)

2 servings


  • 2 slices rye bread (or your choice of a multi grain or French but NOT white, you need a hearty bread for this sandwich)
  • 8 spinach leaves
  • 2 teaspoons honey Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices smoked turkey
  • 1 pear, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon honey Dijon mustard plus 1 Tablespoon honey, mixed
  • 1 Tablespoon bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Spread each slice of bread with 1 teaspoon honey Dijon mustard. Place 4 spinach leaves on each piece of bread then place two slices of turkey on top. Arrange pear slices on turkey.
  3. Drizzle the Dijon mustard and honey mixture over the top and sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top.
  4. Place the open face sandwiches on a cookie sheet and broil on the top rack for 2 to 3 minutes until the pears start to sizzle a bit.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

My files, source unknown

Pear Cake (dairy or pareve)

10 servings


  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup butter or margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2/3 cups finely chopped pears
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans (toasted)
  • Powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda nutmeg, butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. After the mixture is combined, by hand, mix in the pears and pecans. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes then remove them from the pan onto a cooling rack.

Cool completely before serving. To serve, dust the top with powdered sugar.

My files, source unknown

Breakfast Pear Toast Points (dairy)

Makes 12 to 14 depending on the size of the slices of bread


  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread or challah, sliced into thin slices, toasted
  • 2 pears, cored and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (use the real stuff)
  • ½ cup mascarpone
  • 1 teaspoon honey


  1. In a skillet melt the butter and add the pears, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 to 12 minutes (until soft but not mushy. Add the maple syrup cook for 1 or 2 minutes and remove from heat and let cool. (you can prepare this up to 3 days ahead of when you want to use it).
  2. In a bowl combine the mascarpone and honey. When combined, spread the mixture on the toasted bread slices (there may be some left over depending on how thick you spread it on).
  3. Spoon the pear mixture on top of the cheese mixture.
  4. You can heat the toast points in a preheated 375°F oven for 2 to 3 minutes or serve them cold.

My files, modified from

Al Di La’s Torta di Pere (Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake) (dairy or pareve)

I have been making this cake for several years and EVERYONE who tries it asks me for the recipe.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, room-temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 pears, cored peeled and diced Bosc pears
  • ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips (semi sweet is ok but the bittersweet is better)
  • Sweetened whipped cream (optional)
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch spring form pan; set aside.
  2. In a bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick. (NO LESS than 7 to 10 minutes, ABSOLUTELY, it must be very thick)
  3. While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan (it will foam a lot) and cook it until the butter browns and smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from heat but keep in a warm spot.
  4. Add the sugar to the eggs and whip a few minutes more.
  5. Just as the egg-sugar mixture is starting to lose volume, turn the mixer speed down to low and add the butter and flour mixture by alternating (one third of the flour mixture, then half of the butter, a third of the flour, the remaining butter, and the rest of flour. Whisk until just barely combined, no more than a minute from when the flour is first added. Use a spatula to gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined.
    It is very important not to over-whisk or fold the batter or it will lose volume.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the pear and chocolate chunks over the top.
  7. Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  8. Cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Can be serve warm or at room temperature with the whipped topping or ice cream

Modified from Courtesy of Al Di La Restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Acorn Squash with Pears and Cherries (meat or pareve)

6 servings


  • 3 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons margarine at room temperature, divided
  • ¾ cup wild rice
  • 1½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 1 carrot, peeled chopped small
  • 2 Bosc or Anjou pears, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil for drizzling


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the squash halves, cut side up on a cookie sheet with edges. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Divide the butter or margarine between the halves and cover the pan with foil.
  3. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat and take off the foil. Allow to cool
  4. While the squash is cooking combine the rice, broth, a pinch of salt, and 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring every once in a while until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes (most of the water should be gone).
  5. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot just until they start to softened. Add the pears and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Cover and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the thyme, and parsley, mix to combine and remove from heat.
  6. Add the cooked rice, pecans and dried cherries and mix to combine add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Spoon the warm mixture into the baked squash halves. Mound it up and then push it into the squash. Drizzle a little olive oil over the tops and cover with foil.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Submitted by Raylie Rosenberg NY, NY source unknown

Chicken and Pears (meat)

4 servings


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 can (14½ oz.) chicken broth
  • 3 ripe pears, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons cold water
  • 2 Tablespoons minced parsley


  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in oil 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and place on a plate. Cover with foil.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan sauté the onions in the white wine until the liquid has almost evaporated and the onions are tender. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pears and cook, uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes or until pears are tender.
  4. In a cup combine the cornstarch and water and mix until it forms a paste. Add the parsley and then slowly add the mixture to the sauce in the pan.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until thick.
  6. Place the chicken on a serving platter and spoon the sauce over the top.

My files, source unknown

© Eileen Goltz pear 14a

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.