Pear Upside-Down Cake
This sweet (but not too sweet) drink should be made one at a time in a cocktail shaker. Energetic shaking and a proper drink-to-ice ratio ― possible only in a shaker ― are key: The ice dilutes and softens the "edges" of the cocktail, encouraging the otherwise sharp flavors to meld together.
Caramelized Pear and Sage Crostini
Sweet pears and sharp blue cheese create an exciting yet homey appetizer. Serve them with the pear sidecar cocktail (recipe precedes), sparkling wine, or a slightly sweet white wine.
Braised Pork with Pears and Chiles
The gentle heat of the dried chiles is highlighted by the sweet pears, which become soft and a bit savory while cooking in the pork juices. With a side of greens, this is one of our favorite fall dinners.
Asian Pear, Fennel, and Walnut Salad
The quality of the walnuts can make or break this dish, so be sure to taste them first (farmers' markets are an excellent source of fresh nuts; store in the freezer after buying).
Pear Upside-Down Cake
A rich flavor and soft crumb made this cake a favorite in our test kitchen.
Light and refreshing, this sorbet is a delightful way to end a heavy meal. If you want to serve sparkling wine with the sorbet, choose one that's sweeter than the one in the sorbet.
PICK YOUR PEAR
Most of our nation's pears come from Oregon and Washington. Here's a guide to the types commonly grown there and when they (versus imports) are in season and available in markets.
Sweet and juicy, with a mild flavor and firm texture. Can be green or red. Good for eating raw or for cooking. Green: October through June. Red: October through May.
Crisp (even crunchy) texture and a delicate, refreshing flavor make this pear great for eating raw. There are many varieties of Asian pears; most from the United States look like round, beige apples. August through October.
The juiciest pear, it turns very soft and loses its shape when cooked. August through January.
Crisp fruit with a soft, grainy texture, russet skin, and beautiful aroma. The most pear-shaped of all pears. Holds its shape when cooked. September through April.
A finer texture than other pears and a fruity scent make it excellent for eating raw. September through February.