Celebrating WA produce with pure and simple pears

Pear Season is now in full swing. So, whether you like Josephine or Packham, there is sure to be a variety to please everyone in the family – even the most difficult of household members.

When selecting pears, the challenge is knowing just how ripe they are. Pears are picked when fully developed but still firm; they continue to ripen off the tree. They become soft and fragile when ripe, so greengrocers prefer consumers to buy them while they’re still hard and then ripen them at home for a few days at room temperature. 

For those who love a crisp pear, the Packham is the pick of the bunch. It is green-skinned and remains so, even when ripe. It has a white, juicy flesh, which is ideal for both eating fresh and cooking.

Another variety which is certainly an eye-catcher is the Red Sensation, the red-skinned variety of the Bartlett or Williams. This pear is medium in size and is full, sweet and aromatic, making them ideal for both poaching and baking.

The Beurre Bosc has a brown-coloured skin which ripens to a deep cinnamon colour. The flesh is sweet, buttery and delectable. It is worth savouring on its own and is just as delicious in elegant pear dessert recipes. And who thought all pears were green? 

It is hard to improve on the flavour of a soft, juicy pear, but when teamed with blue cheese or prosciutto, you’ll have something truly divine. You can also bake, pan-fry or poach pears, use them in tarts or salads – both sweet and savoury. Now how versatile is that?

Western Australian pears are exceptional in quality right now so be sure to indulge in the fruits of the season whether fresh from the hand or cooked. Here are some lovely autumn recipes to tantalise those tastebuds.

Brought to you by Fresh Finesse Fresh Food Promotions – www.freshf.com.au

Roast pear, beetroot and feta salad


  • 4 pears quartered, cored
  • 3 160g each small beetroot, peeled, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes optional
  • 100 g baby rocket or spinach leaves
  • 125 g marinated feta drained
  • 1 tablespoons pistachio dukkha


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup


  • Preheat oven 230°C fan forced. Place beetroot in a single layer onto a microwave-safe plate. Cover with damp paper towel, microwave five minutes on High.
  • Meanwhile, combine oil, thyme, chilli and season salt and pepper. Mix well. Arrange pears in large roasting pan, spoon over half the oil mixture, turn to coat. Place the hot beetroot on a large sheet baking paper, spoon over remaining oil mixture. Gather the baking paper edges and twist to create a packet for the beetroot. Add to the pan with the pears.
  • Roast 25 to 30 minutes, turning pears once, until pears and beetroot just tender. Remove from the oven. Remove the beetroot from the paper. Cool 15 minutes.
  • Whisk dressing ingredients together. Combine rocket or spinach, pears and beetroot on serving plate. Crumble over the feta and sprinkle with dukkha. Spoon dressing over the salad. Season, toss gently to serve.

Panna cotta with citrus poached pear

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 900 ml cream
  • cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon powdered gelatine dissolved in two tablespoons cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 4 Josephine pears peeled, quartered and cored


  • Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and gently heat while stirring, until the sugar dissolves and liquid begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Dissolve gelatine in cold water for two minutes. Add to the warm cream and stir until it is completely dissolved.
  • Pour into six 150ml ramekins or moulds. Place in the fridge for four to five hours or until set. For the pears, heat the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan.
  • Slide in the pear quarters and gently poach over a medium heat until just tender. Place pears and cooking syrup in a bowl and refrigerate until cool. Turn out the panna cottas and serve with pears.

Pear and pumpkin risotto

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time33 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 600 g pumpkin peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 5 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 Beurre Bosc pears chopped
  • Chopped chives to garnish


  • Heat the oven to 200°C. Toss the pumpkin in the olive oil and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes or until soft and golden. Add the rice, stirring constantly for one minute.
  • Add half cup of the hot stock to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Repeat the process until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is creamy and tender.
  • Gently fold in the parmesan, cooked pumpkin and chopped pears. Scatter with chives and serve immediately. Ideal accompanied with a green salad.

What’s fresh in the fruit and vegetable markets this month

Cauliflowers: Good supplies of small to medium-sized cauliflowers with lovely tight white heads are now in the stores. Cauliflowers are best eaten at the tender-crisp stage. If overcooked, puree and add milk, cream and fresh herbs to make great soup. Try a sauté of onions and cauliflower florets with olive oil and fresh herbs as a side dish or folded through pasta. 

Apples: Crunching on a fresh new season apple every day is a joy when there is such a choice. WA’s best known apple, Pink Lady, along with the spicy sweet red Fujis and Granny Smiths are good eating. Also look out for sunny red Sundowner or deep burgundy Bravo – both are also WA-bred favourites. 

Sweet, juicy pears: Look for Packhams, which will take up to a week to change to a green-gold colour and soften ready for juicy eating — they make an elegant table decoration in the meantime. Beurre Bosc pears are favourites for cooking and good eating as well. 

Navel oranges: The season for WA navel oranges is kicking off, with some early season fruit already arriving in stores. Seedless, easy to peel and full of sweet juice, navels are a perfect snack or healthy finish to a meal. Eating one orange a day will ensure you are getting your recommended daily intake of vitamin C throughout winter; when juicing, remember to squeeze just before use as the juice of navel oranges doesn’t have the keeping qualities of Valencia, the summer variety. Always keep your eyes peeled for the bright blue birthmark sticker that guarantees you’re getting the freshest WA-grown oranges. 

Papaya (or pawpaw): Grown around Carnarvon and the Ord River, papaya has a lovely tropical taste and aroma that brings sunshine to the coolest of days. Select fruit that is well-shaped and sweet smelling. The skin should be mainly yellow in colour, smooth, unbruised and free from black spots. During the wet season you will sometimes see freckles on the skin but they do not affect the flesh. As with all tropical fruit, storage is best at room temperature. If you can find green papaya, try a Thai green papaya salad – simply scrumptious.