Bosc Pears Poached in Cherry Juice, with Cherry Reduction Syrup

The Perfect Pear

Some things are elusive, like the perfect breakfast spot or the perfect parking spot. Nothing is ever really perfect. But when it comes to fruit, many of you tell me you are mystified by the pear. It looks so sexy, all curves and crunch and juice, but sometimes you take a bite and it’s actually rock hard, or worse, mushy. When you get a perfect pear, it blows your mind, and the experience is etched there like Proust’s eternal moment with a madeleine.

You can spend a lifetime seeking that perfect pear, and find as many frustrating pear experiences as ecstatic ones. That’s why I made this video, to show you the simplest, most valuable fact I’ve learned about pears.

You can tell whether they are ripe by pressing the fruit, just around the stem. I know, you probably have read lots of kind of meaningless advice on selecting produce, like “buy eggplants that are unwrinkled and heavy for their size,” or my favorite “select greens that are bright and not wilted or slimy,” Um, thanks for that bit of advice. But how heavy is heavy for an eggplant? And who was going to buy slimy spinach?

Simple French Pear Salad with Walnuts

But the pear trick is a game changer. I promise that once you get the hang of it, you will never bite into a rock hard pear again. Don’t start wrecking the fruit at the store- just a gentle press with a fingertip is all you need to spot a perfect pear.

Once you master the art of pear ripening, you can enjoy dishes like this pear salad, which is so quick and easy it’s almost embarrassing. Almost. It gets a big boost in flavor from walnut oil and walnuts, which complement the sweet pears perfectly. Walnut oil should be in everyone’s kitchen, for the deep, nutty flavor it delivers in salad dressings. It’s also a potent source of the Omega 3’s we hear about in salmon, without the fish. Adding toasted walnuts just amplifies the goodness.

The perfect pear is the pear you have, so get to know your local varieties and buy them under-ripe, then let them finish on the windowsill.

You can always make my tasty Lemony Pear and Almond Bundt Cake, to show off your amazing pears in a tender cake.

Cherry Poached Pears with Cherry Syrup

If you love a little something sweet at the end of a meal,this light, elegant dessert is a perfect choice. By poaching pears or apples innaturally sweet cherry juice, you tint them a lovely deep red. Using ourreduction technique to concentrate the juice creates a lush, syrupy sauce todrizzle over the fruit. Peppery tarragon provides a grace note, and crunchypistachios add some crunch.
Course Dessert
Keyword perfect pear
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell


  • 4 large Bosc pears
  • 2 cups dark sweet cherry juice
  • 3 inches orange peel pared in a strip
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon plus sprigs for garnish
  • chopped, toasted pistachios, vanilla cashew ice cream for serving


  • Using a paring knife, cut a cone shaped hollow in the base of the pear to remove the flower end. Pare straight up into the pear to remove the seeds, hollowing out the pear without cutting through it. Carefully peel the pear, leaving the stem intact.
  • Place the pears in a 2 quart sauce pan and pour in the cherry juice, add the orange peel, vanilla, and cinnamon stick. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on, slightly ajar, and cook for about 15 minutes, turning the pears every 5 minutes to color them evenly. Test for doneness by piercing with the paring knife. When the pears are tender but not falling apart, take them off the heat. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to gently remove them from the juice and place on a plate.
  • Put the juice mixture back on the heat and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and simmer until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. The juice will get quite syrupy and the bubbles will become large and shiny. Transfer the syrup to a small pitcher. Chill until slightly thickened.
  • Serve the cooked fruit drizzled with syrup and sprinkled with pistachios and chopped tarragon, and a scoop of your favorite plant-based ice cream or sorbet. Garnish with a tarragon sprig.

French Pear Salad

Course Salad
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell


  • 6 small pears or 4 large ones
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts


  • Chop the pears and place in a large bowl. In a cup, whisk the walnut oil and champagne vinegar, then pour over the pears. Add the tarragon, salt and pepper and toss to mix. Serve topped with walnuts.