When you’re looking for recipes and you find a dessert that doesn’t require any cooking or baking, what’s your first thought?
For me, it’s a hallelujah moment. One of those, “Oh, yay, I don’t have to actually cook this recipe!” kind of realizations that brings a wide smile to my face.
The first no-cook dessert that I made, one that that wasn’t an ice cream cake or something similar, was a raw cashew fudge. I was really wary about it, but my vegan friend insisted that I would love it.
Turns out, it was one of the tastiest chocolate desserts that I have ever had. I still remember the recipe and will whip up a batch from time to time, when I need a sweet fix but have no energy to bake.
Trust me when I say these kinds of recipes are such a savior to have on hand, or saved in your memory banks. You will feel like you are getting away with something sneaky by not having to put more than 15 minutes into making a dessert that tastes so good.
As much as I adore cooking on a daily basis, sometimes you just get completely burnt out. The opportunity to embrace a recipe that requires very little effort is quite a wonderful relief.
Despite this recipe not being one that is cooked, it’s quite elegant, isn’t it?
I mean, just look at all those layers between the simple slices of pear…
Let’s break down exactly what makes this recipe so divine and tasty, shall we?
First, we start with the star of the show, the pear. You want to make sure that you select Bosc pears specifically for these stacks. They are the ideal shape, with their long tapering necks, and the flesh is denser, crisper, and smoother than other varieties of the fruit. This makes for a fun textural component to the dessert as well.
The filling is made with creamy ricotta, a type of fresh Italian cheese, seasoned with a little bit of maple syrup, smooth vanilla extract, and a bit of cinnamon for some warming flavor and depth. With no added sugar, all of the sweetness of this dish comes through naturally from whole food ingredients.
It’s the stacking of the pears that makes them so special. The look comes out so pretty and it really is stunning when you set each plate down in front of everyone after they’ve finished up their dinner.
This dessert is creamy yet light, with tons of texture and crispness from the fruit.
In addition, you finish it off with a little sprinkle of extra ground cinnamon. Finally, you have some chopped roasted and salted pistachios on top.
I absolutely love the salted flavor of roasted pistachios because it brings even more depth and variety to the party. The crunch is also unique because it’s different from the crispness of the fruit, and adds additional layers of texture.
I recommend preparing these pears to order, so that you don’t have to worry about the flesh turning brown when it’s exposed to oxygen for a more significant length of time.
Since the recipe is so darn easy, waiting to prep dessert until the end of your meal won’t take you away from the action of the dinner party or family dinner you have gathered around the table.Print
The simplest dessert is one that you don’t have to bake, like our simple ricotta pear steaks. No cooking required, and they’re healthier than other sweets.
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 2–3 tsp maple syrup, to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
- 3 ripe Bosc pears
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted and salted pistachios
- Combine ricotta, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a bowl. Taste and adjust as you like.
- Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler or a thin paring knife, leaving the top stem in place for decoration. Using a paring knife or melon baller, scoop out the bottom core of the pear.
- Slice the bottom of the pears to make a flat and stable surface, so they will stand straight, and then slice the pears horizontally into thick pieces about 1 inch wide, carefully picking out any seeds when you see them.
- Spoon 4-5 teaspoons of ricotta filling between each layer and stand pears up individually, on three separate plates.
- To garnish, sprinkle extra cinnamon and pistachios over the top of each. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Category: Fall
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: fall, autumn, pear, cinammon, ricotta
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop Pistachios and Measure Out Remaining Ingredients
Chop enough roasted and salted pistachios until you have 1/4 cup total.
You can also use unsalted pistachios if that’s all you can get your hands on. However, you will miss out on those lightly salted flavor notes that contrast nicely with the sweetness of the other ingredients. A small pinch of fleur de sel or your favorite finishing salt could be sprinkled on top instead, if you like.
Top keep this dessert completely raw, you can choose to skip the nuts altogether.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as they are listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Make Ricotta Filling
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
Taste and adjust the flavor as you desire. I’ve offered a little more info on exactly how you can go about this below.
Step 3 – Peel and Cut Pears
Peel the pears with a peeler or a thin paring knife. Make sure that you leave the top stem in place.
Use a paring knife or melon baller to scoop out just the bottom core of the pear.
Slice the bottoms of the pears to create a flat and stable base. They need to be able to stand straight up on a plate.
Slice the pears horizontally into thick pieces, each about 1 inch in height. You should get about four slices from each pear.
Pick out the seeds of each slice when they appear.
Step 4 – Assemble
To assemble, stack the bottom slice of each of the pears on its own small plate. Spoon 4-5 teaspoons of the ricotta filling on top, and spread in an even layer.
Top with the next slice and another 4-5 teaspoons of the filling. You’ll need to use the most for the bottom layer, and less as you move up to the top towards the stem.
Repeat until all the pears are filled and stacked up.
Sprinkle with extra cinnamon and chopped pistachios. You can gently press chopped pistachios into the exposed filling on the sides of each pear if you like. Serve immediately.
How Do I Adjust to Taste?
I know when you read “adjust to taste” in a recipe, sometimes this seems a little too vague, doesn’t it?
Well, for the ricotta filling, I’ve broken this process down in a little more detail for you:
- Is the filling not sweet enough? Add maple syrup in ½-teaspoon increments until it has the right amount of sweetness.
- Does the filling not have enough of the warming spice? Add cinnamon in ¼-teaspoon increments until it tastes exactly how you want it.
- Does it taste too cheesy? Add vanilla extract in ¼-teaspoon increments until you get that smooth, sweet flavor the way you like it to balance out the ricotta.
This way, you can make the recipe just the way you want it to be.
What occasion will you serve this fancy, yet oh-so-easy dessert for? Tell us in the comments below. Once you try the recipe, be sure to give it a rating as well!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on January 1, 2014. Last updated: September 16, 2023 at 17:07 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.