Wine-steamed Durondeau pear and sauce served on platter.
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When you steam foods, they're cooked over simmering water. Steamed vegetables and fruits keep their integrity and nutrients and their taste is usually fresh. Whether you're steaming pears to puree for baby food, to preserve them or to make a dessert, the technique is roughly the same.

  • Saucepan
  • Steamer basket
  • Knife

Place a steamer basket in large saucepan filled with water until it reaches 1 inch below the basket. Heat the water on high -- it will come to a boil as you prepare the pears.

Rinse the pears with cold water.

Slice a 1/8-inch piece off the bottom of each pear to give it an even surface on which to stand in the dish, if you're keeping the pears whole.

Cut about 1 inch off the top of each pear. Keep the piece, as you will replace it if you're keeping the pear whole. Use a spoon to remove the core and seeds from inside the pears. Peel the pears if you wish. You can also steam the pears halved, quartered or chopped if your recipe doesn't need them to be whole.

Replace the tops of the pears. Reduce the heat to medium-low heat and place the pears into the steamer basket.

Put a lid on the saucepan and steam the pears for 15 minutes or until soft. For halved or quartered pears, it may take as little as 5 minutes. If you're steaming for a puree or baby food, steam the pears until they're very soft.

  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of honey into each pear and add 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg, if you wish to use the pears whole as a dessert.