Although we're still in summer and enjoying an abundance of peaches, watermelon, tomatoes and all those summer vegetables, the foods of fall are joining them at farmers markets and supermarkets.

There is the hint of fall in the coolness of nights and early mornings along with the "fall is coming" sound of crickets.

I say, "bring it on!"

One of the first signs of fall at the Burmeister household is the appearance of poached or baked pears.

With pears on the counter and raspberries in the fridge, my husband, Fred, knew it was time for Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce and Cream Baked Pear Salad.

Here are our favorite dishes.

Email Dixie Burmeister at dixieb2882@gmail.com.

Poached pears

Bosc pears are best for poaching. They hold up well, are delicious and make an easy, elegant looking dessert.

Poaching is simply simmering the pears in the liquid of your choice, until they are tender, not mushy.

Juice, wine, cider, sweetened water and more, all work. The more colorful the liquid, such as cranberry juice, the more colorful your pears.

Since we love raspberry sauce poured over the poached pears, I like to keep the color of the pear to show off the sauce.

4 Bosc pears, peeled, stem on, cored from bottom, trimmed to keep upright if needed

1 quart of liquid. I used water, but it could be juice, wine, cider or something else of your choice

A little honey (to taste)

A little brown sugar (to taste)

Cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon lemon juice and a strip of the lemon rind

Sauce: 16 ounces raspberries, liquefied in blender and strained

Heat liquid, adding honey and brown sugar until dissolved, lemon juice and rind. Place prepared pears in gently, simmering water, for about 15–20 minutes or so, until tender. (But not mushy!)

You can chill pears in liquid or remove and chill. I like to chill in fridge, pat with a bit of paper towel, and then carefully decorate with raspberry sauce.

Serve with additional sauce.

Note: Depending on liquid used, you might want to reduce liquid into a sauce to serve with pears.

Baked Pears

Bosc, Anjou and concords are great for baking, and recipes call for baking cut side up filled with what you fill a baked apple, such as cinnamon, sugar or honey, a teaspoon of butter or even nuts if you like.

Then you bake at 350 degrees, until tender.

While not considered the best for baking, Bartlett pears are what we like.

2 slightly under-ripe Bartlett pear halves, cored but not peeled

2–3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup brown sugar, maple syrup or honey

Cream or ice cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt a 2–3 tablespoons of butter in bottom of 8x8 baking pan. Stir in brown sugar, maple syrup or honey. Place pears in pan cut-side down. Bake for about 30 minutes or until tender and browned.

Serve with a little cream, ice cream or, as I did, in a salad!

Note: You also can just brush pears with a little oil and bake. It works great, even on the grill.

PEAR SALAD

My pear salad includes mixed greens, chopped toasted hazelnuts (or pecans/walnuts), fresh Parmigiano Reggiano shards, (fresh Parmesan or Gouda could be used), roasted golden beets and cut up baked pear. Top with a sliced baked pear half.

I served this salad with a balsamic/basil/olive oil/pear dressing. The sweetness of the pear is complement-ed by the balsamic.

To make it, blend two parts olive oil to one part balsamic vinegar plus a leaf or two of basil and a chunk of pear.

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