Healthy Dessert Recipe: Sautéed Bosc Pears With Toasted Walnuts & Balsamic Reduction

by | Oct 31, 2012
Bosc Pear With Toasted Walnuts and Balsamic Reduction

Bosc Pear With Toasted Walnuts and Balsamic Reduction

“Darya, my biggest problem is…I have a sweet tooth. Are there any recipes or desserts you suggest?”

One of the hardest things about transitioning to a healthy diet is cutting down on sugar. I definitely remember this from my own experience.

Luckily this difficulty is temporary.

The longer you go without sugar, the less you want it. In fact it has taken me awhile to reply to this question because I have not been motivated to make dessert in such a long time.

I eat sweets on occasion, but almost always these situations are circumstantial: a friend’s birthday, a favorite restaurant or other special occasion. And I am only excited about the experience if the dessert in question is profoundly exquisite. (In San Francisco, this is way more common than it is in most places.)

What this all means is I rarely find reason to seek out and/or make dessert.

But after creating this recipe, I may reconsider. This dessert is incredibly delicious, and not unhealthy at all. I thinly sliced some bosc pears and briefly sautéed them in butter with cinnamon. I reduced some balsamic vinegar for a semi-sweet topping, but otherwise did not add any sugar. I garnished the pears with toasted walnuts and shredded basil.

This recipe also works with other firm fruits such as apples, peaches and strawberries, all of which are available this time of year at the farmers market.

Sauteed Bosc Pears With Toasted Walnuts, Balsamic Reduction and Basil


Bosc Pear

Bosc Pear

  • One bosc pear, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 tsp butter
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/4 c. walnuts
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 5 basil leaves, chiffonade into strips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, core and cut bosc pear into 1/4 inch slices.

Place balsamic vinegar in small sauce pan and gently heat until simmering. Allow to reduce, swirling occasionally until reduced to 25-30% volume, about 10 minutes. Reduction should be dark and thickened. Test by seeing if it coats the back of a spoon (and tastes good). Do not over reduce.

While vinegar is reducing, place walnuts on a cookie sheet and put in oven. Toast walnuts, turning once or twice for 6-7 minutes. Do yourself a favor and set a timer. It is very easy to burn toasting nuts. I set the time for 3 minutes, toss the nuts, then reset for another 3 minutes. Remove nuts from oven, allow to cool, then coarsely chop.

Heat butter in a pan on medium heat until it begins to foam. Add pear slices and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook gently until slightly tender, about 3 minutes on each side. Turn with a thin spatula.

Place pears on a plate and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Sprinkle on chopped walnuts and basil. I didn’t try it, but I bet this would be awesome with gorgonzola and port (or other dessert wine).

Try it and let me know what you think!

Do you ever cook fruits for dessert?

Originally published October 12, 2009.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
You deserve to feel great, look great and LOVE your body
Let me show you how with my FREE starter kit for getting healthy
and losing weight without dieting.

Where should I send your free information?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

27 Responses to “Healthy Dessert Recipe: Sautéed Bosc Pears With Toasted Walnuts & Balsamic Reduction”

  1. Jenn says:

    Wow, looks absolutely delicious!

  2. I absolutely agree. After a while (not even too long), things with sugar just seem so, sugary. Since cutting my sugar intake I really can’t handle some of the sweet foods I used to love.

    Pears and walnuts? So tasty! I have both at home and think I’ll make this for my husband tonight.

  3. This looks awesome! Sugar is a big no-no for me, but this may be something I could do for a special treat. Earlier this year we were eating a lot of dried pears that had gotten so ripe they were on the verge of fermenting. We dried them in the hopes of saving them, and save them it did. They were fabulous!

  4. Matt Shook says:

    Mmmm, high-brow fruit dessert…this looks amazing!

  5. Perfect recipe. Perfect timing. Bosc pears are on the counter and were on sale today. Pears and apples are my favorite fruit. Versatility. The timer thing with the nuts…ask me how I know how smart that is.

  6. Allie says:

    I just baked some quince for dessert this past weekend. I served it with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and used the syrup that formed in the pan as a topping.

    I’ll have to try this next weekend. I don’t usually buy pears because I think they are too sweet, but as a dedicated dessert…it does sound good.

  7. Rob Hueniken says:

    Pears are great! So many people pass them over, and miss out on a great North American fruit.

    I am intrigued by the basil in this recipe. I will have to try it!

  8. Canuckette says:

    Pears and vinegar for dessert? I would never have thought that this combination could work, but it’s incredible. I didn’t have fresh basil, so I’ll be sure to try it this summer ASAP when my herb garden gets going. Thanks, Darya!

  9. Tricia says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I just got some Bosc pears and need to know how to use them. Nice to have a healthy recipe to try first.

  10. Jan says:

    Darya, I made this yesterday. 🙂 It was pretty tasty. I didn’t realize cooking with butter could ever make any kind of fruit taste *better*. Now I’m craving anything butter cinnamon (and balsamic reduction). What else could I use these ingredients on besides fruit and bread? I am aiming for less sugar and starch…

    • Darya Pino says:

      Awesome 🙂 It’s kind of different, but if you are looking for savory dishes with those warm spicy flavors I’d look to Moroccan, Persian and other Mediterranean cuisines. They pair cinnamon, cloves, raisins and nuts with chicken, lemon and roasted pepper flavors. The chicken tagine recipe in the Splendid Soups book in the Goodies tab is amazing. This veggie version is pretty tasty too

      Is this what you mean? Also, this recipe is great with apples, peaches, etc. Enjoy!

  11. Very nice idea for a meal that leaves you wanting that little something. I have no sweet tooth, but a little something like this would be perfect.

  12. AnnaT says:

    It does taste good with thyme 🙂 (out of basil…) Only problem is it doesn’t make enough…especially when your hubby comes up and eats half of it.

  13. Ken H says:

    Well – I just tried this (saw one of your recent postings or linked on one of your pages) – other than my lack of experience preparing something like this, although it was fairly simple – it was great! Toasted walnuts are yummy. The basil was a little tough (just bought a package of fresh, but the leaves were HUGE, so I’ll have to find better basil.) The vinegar was a really nice surprise – I never did that before. I’ll give it a thumbs up, or two, and just have to refine some of my prep steps! Thanks for the great healthy dessert (because we LOVE dessert!)

  14. Jeanette Mullane says:

    Wow, what a fabulous dessert–my husband and I loved it! I will be making this often. I received a beautiful box of bosc pears at Christmas, and now I wish I hadn’t wasted so many of them on other recipes!

  15. Dee says:

    Sounds delicious, I’ll try it with plain yogurt and vanilla whey – for breakfast….

  16. Amy says:

    I’m planning to serve this with a late harvest sauvignan blanc this weekend as the last course of a wine dinner. It should be wonderful!

  17. Fern reed says:

    We don’t eat sugar and this sounds just right for us!!!
    Bought some pears today and will try this tonigh. Thank you for the recipe!

  18. or says:

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three
    e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can
    remove me from that service? Bless you!

Leave a Reply to Allie

Want a picture next to your comment? Click here to register your email address for a Gravatar you can use on most websites.

Please be respectful. Thoughtful critiques are welcome, but rudeness is not. Please help keep this community awesome.