Not so prickly pears

Alabama Living Magazine

Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols

Cook of the Month, Peggy Key, North Alabama EC

One of our long-time contributors to the recipe pages, Peggy Key of Grant, Alabama, says she’s been making her winning recipe for Fresh Pear Cobbler for more than 20 years. The original recipe came from a newspaper, but it’s so old that by now it’s yellowed with age.  Picking her own pears was easy years ago when her family had pear trees, but now she, like many of us, is able to get Bosc pears year-round in the grocery store. The cobbler makes its own crust as it spreads out while baking, and is especially tasty with ice cream on top. Peggy says the recipe can also be easily adapted for diabetics or anyone who needs to watch their sugar intake, by simply substituting a sugar substitute for the brown sugar in the pear mixture and in the batter. 

Fresh Pear Cobbler

  • 6 cups (about 2 pounds) Bosc pears, peeled and sliced
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ cup apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon butter or margarine


  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

In a medium bowl, combine pears, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, apple juice, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Toss lightly; pour into an 8×8-inch baking dish. Dot top with 2 tablespoons butter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine all batter ingredients; beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Drop, in nine portions, over filling, spacing evenly. Batter will spread during baking. Bake 35 minutes or until fruit is tender and crust is golden. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 9 servings.

Quinoa Stuffed Pears

  • 2/3 cups quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups water
  • 1/4 cup Spanish chorizo, chopped
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 4 Anjou pears, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil                   
  • 8 cups baby Arugula lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a small saucepan, add quinoa, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Heat a small skillet and add chorizo. Sauté 5 minutes while stirring. Mix together quinoa, chorizo, goat cheese, almonds, scallions and mint. Coat pears with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place on hot grill, flat side down, for 3 – 5 minutes until grill marks are achieved. Turn pears over and stuff with quinoa mixture. Grill them 12-15 minutes until pears are fork-tender. Serve on a bed of baby arugula. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Kirk Vantrease, Cullman EC

Pear Relish

  • 1 peck pears (15 pounds)
  • 5 green sweet peppers
  • 5 red sweet peppers
  • 3 hot peppers
  • 5 large onions
  • 5 cups vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Peel and core pears, grind and drain off most of juice. Prepare peppers and onion, grind but do not drain. Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar and bring to a boil. Add other ingredients, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Pour into hot jars and seal.

Sue Robbins, Coosa Valley EC

Pear Honey

  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 5-6 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon allspice, to your 
  • preference
  • 6 cups cooked pears, mashed

Place pears and crushed pineapple in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Pour in heavy pan and add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning. Turn heat down and slowly boil until the mixture thickens and color changes to look a little like the color of honey. Stir often. After it thickens, pour into sterilized jars and seal. Enjoy on toast, bagel or biscuit. Even delicious over pancakes.

Rose Ann Smith, Clarke-Washington EC

 Venison and Pear Meatloaf

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 2 pounds ground venison or beef
  • 1/2 cup real bacon bits or 4 slices cooked bacon
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Chop onion and pear. In a large bowl, mix together venison, onion, pear, bacon bits and seasonings. It’s best to mix with hands, but only until all ingredients are incorporated together. Form into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Eliza Trawick, Central Alabama EC

The Buttered Home

I love to cook. I love to cook with seasonal fruits and vegetables and turn them into glorious creations. This recipe is one like I like to specialize in. It’s a recipe that shows you how you can take simple things and create a scratch-made masterpiece. For this one, I like to use my pie crust recipe, which can be found at However, you can also simply use a store-bought crust. And to really kick things up, try making it with pre-packaged puff pastry. The method is the same for all three. Using pears is perfect for a tart, as the fruit can really stand up to the cooking process and time, and keeps more of its composition than do apples or other similar fruit. We hope you try this fancy pants recipe and love it as much as we do! Find more recipes at

Homemade Pear Tart

  • 2 peeled and sliced Bosc pears
    (or any other variety; Bosc is most commonly found in any region, all year long)
  • 1-3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Wash and peel pears. Slice ¼-inch thick and set aside. Prepare pie crust and place on base of spring form pan. Drop base in the sides and secure. Use fingers to form a pretty edge that stands up about 1/2-inch.

Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar and flour and sprinkle over crust. Place pears on tart in whatever pattern your heart desires.  Place in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.

In a small boiler, heat marmalade, honey and last 2 tablespoons of sugar just until combined and loose. After 40 minutes of bake time, drizzle the marmalade honey mix on top and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the tart is brown and pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan. 

Cool in pan for 15-20 minutes.  Remove springform sides, cut and enjoy!


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