Comice pears range from small to large in size and have a distinctly squat shape with a large bulbous bottom and a short, well-defined neck connecting to a thick brown-green stem. The yellow-green skin is smooth with prominent lenticels or pores and may have red blushing on one side of the fruit where the sun’s rays were most direct. The skin is soft, very fragile, and bruises easily. The flesh is ivory to off-white and is silky, creamy, moist, and fine-grained. When ripe, Comice pears have buttery and very juicy texture, are highly aromatic and have an exceptionally sweet, mellow, and earthy flavor.
Comice pears are best suited for raw applications as their sweet, juicy, and soft flesh do not hold up well to cooking. They can be sliced and served alone or paired with creamy cheeses for complementary flavor. They can also be sliced and added to enhance watercress or spinach salads or added to pancakes, rice pudding, soups, or made into pear butter. Comice pears can be canned or used in select baked goods such as a rugelach, which is a crescent-shaped pastry filled with seeds, chocolate, fruit, or nuts, made into a granita with green tea and honey to serve over ice cream, cooked into a compote with earl grey and vanilla, or even served in cocktails such as a spicy pear mojito. Comice pears compliment rosemary, cardamom, cinnamon, anise, curry powder, turmeric, garam masala, raisins, almond, hazelnut, pecans, chestnuts, chicken, coconut, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, arugula, cilantro, maple syrup, camembert, gorgonzola, blue, and brie cheese. The delicate skin of the Comice pear can bruise or tear easily, but when handled properly, the pears will store well. They will keep 2-6 weeks when stored in the refrigerator. When kept at room temperature, they will keep for a couple days.