HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


So Many Harry & David Pears- what to do with them

I have approximately 18 giant and beautiful Royal Riviera Pears.
I am not sure what to do with all of them. Does anyone have any easy but creative suggestions? I have no idea whether they cook well. I thought about making apple-pear sauce to go with potato latkes for Hanukkah but I am running out of ideas and I don't want them to go bad. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. I don't know if your pears are firm or soft. If firm, here's a lovely recipe for pears that you bake in wine sauce, then serve with gorgonzola.



      1. Pear gingerbread upside-down cake.

        1. Pear Upside-Down Cake. Poach the pears in wine with a little honey and a couple of cinnamon sticks, until they are just tender. While they're poaching, melt some butter and brown sugar together. As soon as the butter melts, pour this "caramel" into whatever cake pan you're using. When the pears are done, blot them dry a bit with paper towels and place, cut side down, on the caramel. Cover with a good cake batter (add just enough batter to cover the pears). Bake. Unmold while warm onto a serving platter. Serve warm, with ice cream.

          1. Usually Harry and David sells fruit that is meant to be eaten fresh -- I think it would be a shame to cook pears like that too thoroughly. My favorite way to enjoy pears is just sliced and served fresh over salad (I like to make the Cosi salad that has pears, cranberries, red grapes, gorgonzola and pistachios over spinach with a balsamic dressing)... or maybe lightly poached for a poire belle helene?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Adrienne

              I agree, they're not the best pears for cooking, but on the other hand it'd be a shame to let them spoil.

              Can you freeze pear coulis with good results?

              1. re: Adrienne

                I agree. For the price tag on those pears, they're best eaten fresh. They are quite delicious on their own

              2. I'm in the "stand over the sink and eat them plain" camp.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Absolutely. There are some things in life that just can't be improved upon. My sister sends us a big box of H&D pears every year. They're gone within hours.

                  2. Sliced and served fresh with heart healthy pancakes. A delicious and smart start to the day. No cholestoral recipe on Bisquick box. Enjoy!

                    1. This is a recipe I have done from Country Home magazine, it's excellent and was a big hit the last time I made it.

                      Crackly Pear Cake
                      2 cups all-purpose flour
                      1 1/2 cups sugar
                      3/4 cup cold unsalted butter (11⁄2 sticks), cut into small pieces
                      1/8 tsp. salt
                      3/4 cup milk
                      2 large eggs
                      3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
                      zest of 1 large lemon (1 tbsp.)
                      1 tbsp. baking poweder
                      1 tsp. almond extract
                      2 cups pears(peeled, cored, and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces)
                      1 large egg white
                      2 tbsp. sugar

                      Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Using a pastry blender or fork, blend 2 cups flour, 11/2 cups sugar, butter, and salt until crumbly. Press 1 cup mixture over bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of the springform pan.

                      Whisk together milk, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and almond. Stir remaining crumb mixture into milk mixture until blended (will still be lumpy). Fold in pears. Pour into springform pan.

                      Beat egg white with electric mixer on medium to high speed until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Spread over batter.

                      Bake in a 350° oven 65 minutes. Cool 30 minutes on a wire rack. Remove sides of springform pan; finish cooling. Makes one 9-inch cake (12 servings).

                      1. My sister has a pear tree and this fall it was a huge producer. One of the best things she came up with was a pureed butternut squash soup with pears. She browned onions, added 2/3 squash and 1/3 pears (the ratio, not the exact amount), some rosemary & thyme, and chichen broth. Cook until soft and then puree. YUM! I have always made squash soup with apples, but this was a nice change.

                        Another idea is a yummy app: make some mapled walnuts (douse walnut halves in maple syrup and place on foil covered baking sheet at about 300 deg - toss every 5 min until lightly browned) & place these on thinly sliced, lightly toasted baguette with a slice of pear and a bit of good blue cheese (I prefer Blue d'Auvergne or similar - could use Cambazola if you don't like the really strong taste). YUM! A lovely hors d'ouvre!

                        Another thought: spinach salad with sliced pears, blue cheese crumbles, mapled walnuts (as above) and a balsamic vinagrette slightly sweetened with honey.

                        1. I had this amazing dessert the other night: chestnut crepes with caramelized bosc pears, sweet ricotta, and maple ice cream. It would be fairly easy to replicate at home, substituting maple ice cream with a good scoop of vanilla. That takes care of about 4 right there. I've done the salad mentioned above with blue cheese as well as big shavings of parmigianno reggiano. Good luck.

                          1. Don't forget galleygirl's famous (on this board) tart, copied from an earlier thread:

                            Pear Tart
                            You'll need a 8" springform pan, and three or four ripe, juicy pears, peeled, cored, and sliced into sixths or eighths.

                            Cream a stick of butter with 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

                            Add 2 eggs, one at a time.

                            Combine one cup of flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add to the butter and egg mixture.

                            Spray the spring form pan with Pam and spread the batter into it. Start pressing pear slices into the batter in a pinwheel pattern, but do cram in as many as you can. The batter will rise and cover the pears anyway. The more pears you use the moister the result will be.

                            Bake at 350 degrees until a skewer comes out clean, 45 minutes to an hour. When in doubt, underbake!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Babette

                              I second the galley girl tart.It's amazing. I love to serve it with a homemade caramel sauce or ginger ice cream.

                            2. Eat them! Good grief, using Royal Riveras as a cooking pear is like making hash out of beef tenderloin. If you put a few in the refrigerator their ripening will be slowed down a bit. Meanwhile, eat pears by day and by night. Let the juice drip down your arms. Be generous---share some with friends or neighbors. Enjoy the moment.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Querencia

                                I agree--eat them as they are. They are so wonderful. If I had 18 (I do envy you), I think I'd have to invite friends over to enjoy them with me.

                                1. re: debbiel

                                  I actually received a gift of two boxes of harry and david pears about a year ago (I think they were on a two-for one) and this is exactly what I did -- I made friends with all of my neighbors so that all of the pears could be eaten fresh.

                                  This is quite a delicious-looking collection of recipes though for maybe some time when you have cheaper pears on hand :)

                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                    Oh to be your neighbor Adrienne!

                              2. I've never done it, but all those recipes for pears poached in wine have always seemed intriguing. It just sounds so tasty.

                                Although, since the H&D fruit is definitely a "fresh fruit" kinda thing, I'd have my friends over for a scrabble game
                                and melted brie with pear slices and raspberry sauce. Yum.

                                1. I used some H & D pears I received last Christmas for this caramelized pear cake recipe I found on Epicurious. The recipe is from the Bi-Rite market in San Francisco. It was the best cake I baked last year!

                                  1. just eat them plain!!!! my mouth is watering just thinking about those pears. best thing my mom ever did was sending me a surprise H&D package in college. best. pears. ever.

                                    plus we got a lot of use out of the basket-like cornucopia it all came packed in. came in handy at many a party for entertainment, like using it as a hat or a mask.

                                    1. Drizzle with honey and vanilla yogurt for breakfast..but def. enjoy them while ripe whole fruit. Save all these delicious recommendations for a local pear season.

                                      or..scoop out the seed area of a halved pear and fill with curry chicken salad, cottage cheese, gelato....oh yes!

                                      1. Some of your pears will probably be too firm to eat. I like to slice thin and add to salads,or saute and add to sauce for chicken or duck.

                                        The very ripe ones are great for just eating.

                                        If there are any left over. I would make a Pear and Ginger Preserve, or Pear Chutney.

                                        You can make a Pear Sorbet that is divine. The better the pears, the better the sorbet.

                                        1. The advice not to cook them is probably sound, but if you felt especially inclined to cook with them anyway, make the sauce, but omit the apples. Pear sauce is phenomenal.

                                          1. Pear pie, yum. Cooking Light also has a recent recipe for pear-vanilla bean jam which I made and would recommend. Pear pie.

                                            1. you guys are amazing! thanks for your suggestions. We just tried the first one-- my 8 month old and I enjoyed! My four year old twins were not interested. So, I'll probably put some pears into a salad tomorrow and maybe try pear sorbet. Anyone have a great pear sorbet recipe? I may try a pear cake too. The problem is, I am really short on time with 3 little kids and a weekend filled with holiday parties.

                                              2 Replies
                                                1. re: roxhills

                                                  Weekend filled with holiday parties?

                                                  Host/hostess gifts! Bring 4 pears to each party -- I'm sure they would be appreciated.

                                                2. Let them ripen before refrigeration. I've tried the other way and they just stay hard.

                                                  A ripe H&D Royal Riviera, gorgonzola or stilton (preferably Neal's Yard Colston Bassett from Zabar's) and port wine are my idea of heaven.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KRS

                                                    The H&D website shows they are on SALE now and are offering free shipping through Feb 13th.
                                                    [Regular Price: $29.95]
                                                    NOW $19.95, Save 33%

                                                  2. I'm intrigued. I live near a fairly desperate pear growing area in Cal, AND get several pears in my CSA baskets. Are these conice pears?

                                                    1. Toss them.

                                                      I've never had a fruit from Harry & David that didn't taste anything like colored cardboard.