Pears Cookbook


Roll up your sleeves and be prepared to savor the delights of the pear in a superb collection of over 60 recipes for soups, side dishes, salads, condiments, sauces, main dishes, and desserts. In Pears, acclaimed cookbook writer, columnist and radio show host Linda West Eckhardt offers cooks the definitive information on pear varieties (Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, Clapp Favorite, Comice, Devoe, Forelle, Packham, Seckel, and Winter Nelis), as well as how to pick them, ripen them, and cook with them.

The Molly Evens of the cookbook world, Eckhardt is funny, direct, succinct, very talented, and yes, from Texas. In her newest book, Pears, Eckhardt is nothing short of passionate in her writings and choice of fabulous recipes. Those who are just so-so about pears now will be completely won over after reading this book.

Eckhardt weaves a wonderful array of textures and flavors into her recipes. For instance, there is a sublime Pear-Ginger Cream Soup, a lively Roasted Red Potato Salad with Bartlett Pears, or a unique Comice and Celery Root Salad. Main dishes include a delightful Savory Pear Bread Pudding, a sexy Seared Scallops and Pears with Lemon-Vodka Sauce, or sizzlingly good Stir-Fried Sirloin and Pears on a Bed of Spinach. Side dishes provide a wonderful alternative to the ho-hum every-day: Pear and Spinach purée is a perfect compliment to pork; German-Style Pears and Cabbage, and Sweet Potato Fritters with Pear Coulis are luscious; and Pear-Soy sauté is a wonderful accompaniment to summer pork and chicken dishes. Eckhardt's breads and desserts are not to be missed. Of course, there is the ubiquitous poached pears, along with tarts, pies, cakes as well as breads, muffins, and a fantastic focaccia.

An inspiring guide to buying, cooking with, and enjoying one of nature's most delectable fruits, Pears provides a celebration of this fruit in all its seasonal variety and versatility. The enticing photographs by Karl Petzke add an exciting and evocative dimension to this wonderful cookbook.

She writes with such ebullience on the pleasures of pears that readers will taste the bursting flavor in their mouths—the juice dripping down their hands . . .

Linda West Eckhardt, a food writer, columnist, and radio show host, is the author of ten cookbooks, including Bread in Half the Time, which won the 1991 Julia Child Award (IACP) for Best Cookbook in America. Her articles have appeared in Redbook, Glamour, Houston Home & Garden, New York Times Magazine, and Modern Maturity. She has a regular food column in Texas Monthly and currently is the co-host of Pie in the Sky on National Public Radio. She and her husband live in Ashland, Oregon. Karl Petzke is a San Francisco-based photographer who works in commercial advertising and well as editorial photography. His previous books include the best-selling Espresso and Champagne, both published by Chronicle Books.


Seared Scallops and Pears
with Lemon-Vodka Sauce


If you want to impress just one person with an absolutely divine dinner, this is a perfect choice. Serve the dish on a brightly colored plate, uncork a bottle of wine, toss a salad, offer a loaf of crusty hot bread—and enjoy a four-star dinner.

Makes 2 Servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces large sea scallops
  • 2 large ripe Bartlett, Anjou, or Bosc pears, cored, peeled, and halved
  • 8 ounces fresh fettuccine, or 4 ounces dried fettuccine
Lemon-Vodka Sauce
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3-inch pieces fresh chives for garnish
  • Julienned lemon zest for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until the butter foams, then sauté the scallops for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden, turning once.Transfer to a warmed plate, cover, set aside, and keep warm.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter, and heat over medium-high heat until the butter foams. Place the pears in the pan, cut-side down, and sauté until golden, 2 or 3 minutes, then turn and cook the rounded side until golden. Remove from heat and keep warm.

At the same time, fill a 4-quart pot with salted water and bring it to a full boil. Drop the fettuccine into the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes for fresh and 8 minutes for dried, or until al dente. Drain.

Make the sauce: mix the lemon zest and juice and set aside. Combine the cream and vodka in a small sauce-pan and boil for 3 minutes. Add the chives and mixed juice and zest, and boil for 1 minute, or until thickened. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce. Divide between 2 warmed dinner plates. Top with seared scallops and season with salt and pepper. Arrange 2 pear halves on either side of the scallops on each plate. Garnish with chive pieces and lemon zest and serve at once.


Pear Cranberry Crisp


Good for breakfast and great after dinner, this easy sweet-tart crisp may be made with less-than-picture-perfect pears.

Makes 9 Servings

  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 pounds ripe Bosc, Seckel, or Anjou pears, cored, peeled, and chopped (4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, chopped into bits
  • Cream or vanilla nonfat yogurt for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch square baking dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, and oats in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with the cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Stir each mixture well.

Stir the cranberry mixture in with the pears, then arrange the fruit at the bottom of the baking pan and pour the juice over the fruit. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the flour-sugar mixture over the fruit.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly and brown. Remove to a rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm in bowls, with cream or vanilla nonfat yogurt.


Recipes from:
by Linda West Eckhardt
Photography by Karl Petzke
Chronicle Books
$16.95 Paperbound
132 pages, full-color photographs throughout
ISBN: 0-81 18-0668-5
Reprinted with permission

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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