Make Ahead

Fennel Pear Compote

November  7, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4 (about 1 1/2 cups)
Author Notes

After the dinner dishes are cleared from the table and I want something sweet and slightly more hearty than a piece of fresh fruit, I turn to compote. This time of year, it's fennel pear compote. The pears caramelize in vanilla, honey, dry white wine, with a soft chew of fennel. Spoon the compote over greek-style yogurt or ice cream for the final note to your holiday meal.


What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 3 medium) of ripe but firm pears, like Anjou
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (pounded with a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (split and seeds scraped)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like sauvignon blanc)
  1. Peel, halve, and core the pears. Slice the fruit into thick wedges, roughly 4 slices for each half; set aside.
  2. In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat the butter, honey, cardamom, vanilla bean pod and seeds, and wine over medium heat. Stir frequently until the butter is melted and the mixture begins to bubble. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for about 1 minute or just until the caramel thickens a bit.
  3. Add the pears to the pan, arranging them in an even layer. If they don’t sizzle, turn the heat up. Allow the pears to sear in the caramel untouched for about 1 minute, this means resist the urge to shake or flip them in the pan, or they won’t color.
  4. Serve the compote warm. Spoon over greek-style yogurt or ice cream.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SallyCan
  • cheese1227
  • theyearinfood
  • Midge
  • mrslarkin

10 Reviews

ummmBacon December 13, 2022
Yeah, I noticed nobody who commented before me actually MADE this recipe.

There is essentially NO caramelization, which I didn't expect anyway, given the huge volume of wine that is added to the butter and honey. There is some minimal thickening that occurs, but you have to crank the heat to high to make that happen and it takes way longer than the 1 minute that the recipe claims. I ended up making a triple batch in 3 separate cookings, and each set of cooked pears I dumped into a 9x13 uncovered glass casserole and popped in the oven at 400 to keep warm while I kept cooking. This allowed the liquid to bubble in the oven and continue to cook off so that it thickened a little bit more.

The pears don't sizzle when you add them, especially not at the medium-high temp they tell you to use! Mine didn't even sizzle on batches 2 and 3 when I turned the temp up to high. And zero browning of the pears occurred, in contradiction to what the picture on the website shows. With so much liquid in the pan, there is no way you are going to get browning.

I used a 10" saute pan as the recipe recommended, and was sorry. There is way too much crowding of the pears, and the liquid came up so high in the pan that it made a mess of my stove. Next time, if I were to actually make this again (which I won't), I would use a 12" cast iron pan with a tall side to better corral the mess an to allow the liquid to spread out better.

All in all, this recipe seems like it wasn't tested well. Also, the instructions tell you to add cardamom, but I assume they meant fennel as listed in the ingredient,s but screwed that up too. Do better, Food52
SallyCan November 12, 2010
Interesting combination of flavors. Might be good with the turkey!
cheese1227 November 8, 2010
Nice combination!
theyearinfood November 8, 2010
What a lovely and sophisticated pairing of flavors!
Midge November 8, 2010
Brilliant. Can't wait to try this over yogurt.
mrslarkin November 8, 2010
Sounds lovely!
artandlemons November 7, 2010
Thanks for your comments!
Jennifer A. November 7, 2010
What a wonderful and creative blend of ingredients - awesome dessert!
drbabs November 7, 2010
me too!
Sagegreen November 7, 2010