Stewed Pear is our favourite quick and easy dessert to make during the Fall harvest season.
Fresh pears are stewed and poached in a skillet on the stove then flavoured with cinnamon, cloves, white wine, dry sherry, Grand Marnier and Disaronno amaretto.
Serve this homemade spiced Pear Compote recipe on French Toast, pancakes, ice cream, or yogurt. You can prepare it as a chunky topping or smooth sauce.
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Homemade Stewed Pear Compote Ingredients
My family loves making this easy stewed pear recipe during the Fall harvest season when orchards are thriving in Ontario.
The simple and versatile dessert recipe can be made with any kind of pear. Our favourites are Bartlett, Anjou and Bosc.
- Butter: a small amount of butter is used in this recipe to give the compote syrup and sauce a velvety and creamy texture.
- White Sugar: adds additional sweetness to your stewed pears.
- Cloves & Cinnamon: flavours the compote with warming spices.
- Dry Riesling White Wine: gives body and flavour to the compote syrup.
- Dry Sherry: our favourite fortified wine.
- Disaronno: is a popular Italian liqueur, which adds an additional layer of nuttiness to the dish.
- Grand Marnier: is a French orange-flavoured brandy liqueur.
- Sliced Pears: only use fresh pears, preferably locally grown when in season during the Autumn harvest. You can remove the skin or keep the skin on. I like to keep the skin on as it colours the compote nicely.
What Is Poached, Stewed & Compote Fruit?
So what’s the difference between poached, stewed and compote fruit?
Fruit Compote is the name of a particular dish, while poaching and stewing are terms used to describe the desserts required cooking method.
- Fruit Compote: compote or compôte is a dessert originating from medieval Europe, made of whole or pieces of fruit cooked in sugar syrup. Whole fruits are cooked in water with sugar and spices. It can be enjoyed warm or cold.
- Poaching: poaching fruit by simmering it in a flavoured syrup deepens its flavour, softens its flesh, and gives it a shiny, almost translucent appearance. The sugar in a poaching syrup penetrates the fruit and keeps it firm during and after cooking.
- Stewing: is similar to poaching in that it is defined as, “boiling slowly or with simmering heat.” You can use the terms stewed fruit and poached fruit interchangeably.
What Is The Difference Between Compote and Jam?
Compote and jam are two different products made from similar ingredients.
Compotes have bigger pieces of fruit in them, and smaller berries can and be kept whole, whereas jam has smaller pieces of fruit, sometimes even pureed. Compotes are not canned and have less sugar than jam.
What Is The Difference Between Coulis and Compote?
A coulis is smooth fruit puree that is sometimes strained, while a compote is usually pieces of fruit in a sugary syrup like sauce.
How Do You Thicken Compote?
A cornstarch slurry is a quick and easy way to thicken a compote. Add the slurry to the compote along with the other ingredients before cooking. This will allow to the slurry to slowly thicken the compote as it cooks.
History Of Fruit Compote
Compote conformed to the medieval belief that fruit cooked in sugar syrup balanced the effects of humidity on the body. The name is derived from the Latin word compositus, meaning mixture.
In late medieval England it was served at the beginning of the last course of a feast, often accompanied by a creamy potage. During the Renaissance, it was served chilled at the end of dinner.
Because it was easy to prepare, made from inexpensive ingredients and contained no dairy products, compote became a staple of Jewish households throughout Europe. In modern French, the term refers to usually unsweetened fruit purée without fruit chunks, such as applesauce.
Dried fruit is often used for compote by cultures from Eastern Europe, and its syrup is also drunk as a beverage. Both are called kompot.
You May Also Enjoy These Fruit Compote Recipes…
Stewed Pear Cooking Tips
- Select fresh ripe pears as they’re sweeter and take less time to cook.
- In a pinch you can use frozen pears to make compote. Do not use canned pears.
- Instead of sugar, try using brown sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, agave or honey.
- Taste your compote before removing it from the stove. Gradually add more sugar to taste.
- Pear compote will thicken more as it cools.
- Don’t overcook stewed or poached pears or you’ll produce a thick jam.
Pear Compote Serving Suggestions
You can serve homemade fruit compote warm, at room temperature or chilled.
You can enjoy it all on its own served in a small bowl with a spoon.
Since our recipe is boozy, you can use the syrup and stewed pears as a sweetener and flavour when making craft cocktails.
You can also serve the syrupy fruit over a cheesecake.
Variations & Special Diets
My family likes to make a chunky stewed pear compote so we typically cook the fruit until fork tender.
The longer you stew or poach the pears in syrup the more they will break down. The texture of the pears is a preference and totally up to you. If you want the compote to have more of a thinned sauce consistency cook the ingredients for a few more minutes over the stove.
You can add stewed pears to a blender to create a smooth sauce for sundaes or breakfast bowls.
Have fun with your spirit collection by making substitutions based on what’s available on your bar cart. You can substitue dry sherry for other fortified wines like marsala or sweet red vermouth. On the sweeter side, swap out the dry white wine for a late harvest Riesling.
Add apple cider vinegar for a tangy and sweet-tart edge.
Add lemon juice to tone down the sweetness of the pears.
If you want to make a kid-friendly non-alcoholic pear compote substitute the wine, dry sherry, amaretto and brandy, with pear juice or water. You will likely need to add additional sweetener so taste while you’re cooking.
Storing Stewed Pear
This stewed pear recipe is so delicious your family will likely finish eating it all in a day or two!
If you’re planning on double or tripling the recipe, store leftovers in a large jar at the back of your fridge for up to a week.
Compote can also be frozen and enjoyed once thawed.
You can not can or preserve pear compote and store it long term like you would a jam.
You May Also Enjoy These Pear Recipes…
- Ginger Whiskey Pear Cocktail
- Creamy Apple and Pear Pork Normandy
- Ginger Spiced Banana Pear Muffins
- Cambozola Currant Pear and Fennel Salad
- Toasted Pecan Parmesan Pear and Rocket Salad
- Creamy Vegetarian Parsnip and Pear Soup
How To Make Homemade Stewed Pear Compote
Spiced Poached & Stewed Pears Compote
- French knife
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Large Skillet
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 5 tbsp White Sugar
- 3 Whole Cloves
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1/2 cup Riesling White Wine
- 5 cups Pears sliced
- 1/4 cup Dry Sherry
- 4 tbsp Disaronno
- 4 tbsp Grand Marnier
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the butter and melt, stirring constantly.
- Stir in the sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and wine and cook at a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Allow the liquid to cook until it is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the pear slices, sherry, Disaronno and Grand Marnier and cook, turning them once until they are fork-tender, about 10 minutes.
- Let cool and serve over ice cream or yogurt.
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