9 of Our Best Pear Dessert Recipes

Pears poached in red wine with whipped cream
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Subtly sweet with a texture perfect for poaching, baking, and roasting, pears make for great desserts. Try any one of these pear dessert recipes—like the classic Pears Poached in Red Wine, rich Pear Sticky Toffee Cakes with Miso-Caramel Sauce, or wintry Gingerbread Pear Loaf Cake—to learn how to use the fruit in creative and interesting ways. Any way you slice it, pears can add sweetness to a baked treat, cheese plate, or show-stopping table presentation. Read on for all of our best pear desserts.

01 of 09

Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel

Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel
© John Kernick

Instead of apple pie, chef Shawn McClain ends his Thanksgivings with this stunning tarte Tatin. Because the recipe calls for store-bought puff pastry (McClain is a huge fan of Dufour's), it's quite easy to prepare.

02 of 09

Flaky Pear Pie

Kentucky Derby Pie Recipes
PHOTO © JOHN KERNICK

"I grew up watching my mom make pies," says chef Grant Achatz. "My father would always envy her amazingly tender and flaky crusts. He is a great cook, but he could never quite make a piecrust like she can. Her crust rules, and I understand now that the secret is finesse, and genetically cold hands." Achatz's pie, inspired by his mom's, is as straightforward as it gets, with a melt-in-your-mouth all-shortening crust and a lightly sweetened pear filling with just a hint of spice.

03 of 09

Flaugnarde with Pears

Flaugnarde with Pears

F&W published the recipe for this not-too-sweet fruit pancake to celebrate the publication of the 2005 edition of Paula Wolfert's 1983 classic, The Cooking of Southwest France. Flaugnarde is a sibling of the baked fruit dessert called clafoutis. It's just as good for brunch as it is for dessert, served puffed and hot right out of the oven.

04 of 09

Pears Poached in Red Wine

Pears poached in red wine with whipped cream
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

These poached pears taste best if made a day or two in advance, giving them time to soak in the poaching liquid. When ready to serve, reduce the liquid to a fine red wine syrup to spoon over each pear.

05 of 09

Pear Sticky Toffee Cakes with Miso-Caramel Sauce

Pear Sticky Toffee Cakes with Miso-Caramel Sauce
Greg DuPree

"A little digging suggests that the dessert made famous by British chef Francis Coulson at the Sharrow Bay hotel may in fact be Canadian in origin—which would explain my penchant for it given that I, too, am Canadian," Top Chef judge and cookbook author Gail Simmons says about the origins of sticky toffee cake, or sticky toffee pudding. "The story goes that the dessert was initially made by Patricia Martin at her country hotel in Claughton, England, and later appeared as her contribution to a compilation of recipes published in 1971. Reports differ as to whether she learned the recipe from a Canadian friend or from two Canadian air force officers who stayed at her hotel. But I would love sticky toffee cake no matter where it originated."

06 of 09

Honey-Pear Sweet Cream Galette

Honey Pear Sweet Cream Galette
Erin Kunkel

A mix of alternative flours—here, two kinds of rice flour and arrowroot—deliver a gluten-free crust that is flaky, buttery, and crisp. The floral sweetness from the honey and pears is nicely balanced by tangy cream cheese. Be sure to let the galette rest at least 30 minutes to give the filling time to firm up for easier slicing.

07 of 09

Poached Pears in Muscat

Poached Pears in Muscat
Photo by Mary Jo Hoffman

Languedoc and Mediterranean France make beautifully aromatic, sweet Muscat dessert wines that soak into these poached pears. This recipe, which writer Steve Hoffman tasted in the town of Autignac, replaces the usual sugar with honey and counters the sweetness and floral notes of the reduced wine with some of the resinous and earthy aromas of the area's famous wild scrubland—namely bay, thyme, and fennel. A knife inserted into a poached pear should encounter about the same resistance as room-temperature butter.

08 of 09

Spiced Pavlova with Roasted Pears and Grapes

Spiced Pavlova with Roasted Pears and Grapes
Alison Miksch

In this recipe, cookbook author and F&W Cooks contributor Ann Taylor Pittman incorporates ground cardamom in the egg whites for "deep fragrance and warm, sweet notes." She continues, "grapes, pears, and pomegranate arils are the fall fruit trifecta for the topping, each offering its own shade of muted burgundy that feels just right for this time of year. If you've never made a pavlova, you'll be surprised by how easy it is."

09 of 09

Pear and Shallot Tarte Tatin with Whipped Goat Cheese

Pear and Shallot Tarte Tatin with Whipped Goat Cheese Recipe
Victor Protasio

Serve this savory-sweet tart as a showstopping brunch centerpiece, or cut it into slivers to add to a cheese board. While this recipe is designed for a flameware pan, it can be made in a metal skillet—just monitor the caramel closely.

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