Pear Compote

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1½ cups

Appears in

Good to the Grain

By Kim Boyce

Published 2010

  • About

This is a wonderful compote, made with pears sautéed in a maple-caramel sauce infused with cloves and vanilla bean. Choose pears that are ripe and flavorful, but not so ripe that they can’t withstand a good sear in the pan. Spoon this compote over yogurt, fold it into Honeyed Crêpes, or dollop some over Steel-Cut Oatmeal.


  • 2 medium pears, such as Anjou, ripe but firm
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 5 cloves
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped


  1. Peel, halve, and core the pears. Slice the fruit into fat wedges, about 4 slices per half, and set aside.
  2. Add the butter, maple syrup, and cloves to a 10-inch sauté pan. Add the vanilla bean pod and seeds to the pan. Cook over a medium flame, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and the mixture begins to bubble. Increase the flame to medium-high and cook for about 1 minute, or until the caramel thickens slightly.
  3. Carefully add the pears to the pan, placing them in an even layer. Listen for the sizzle—this is a clue that your flame is hot enough—and adjust the heat as necessary. Let the pears sear in the caramel, about 1 minute, without stirring them or moving the pan; if the fruit is moved around, it will not color.
  4. Increase the flame to high and cook for about 8 minutes. The caramel will begin to bubble around the edges, moving toward the center as the juice reduces and the caramel darkens. If there are pockets of darker caramel, slide the pan gently back and forth to even out the sauce, being careful not to jostle the pears too much.
  5. When the edges of the pears have darkened and the caramel is the color of molasses, flip the pears over with a metal offset spatula. Turn the flame off, leaving the pan on the stove until the caramel has stopped bubbling. Carefully fish the cloves and vanilla beans from the caramel with a fork. Serve the compote while still warm, as the caramel will harden slightly as it cools.