Tomorrow is the big day.  Are you hosting?  Are you ready?  It seems that with a couple of years of hosting under my belt, I’m strangely calm about the whole thing.  All of the pies are made.  The menu is set, and almost everything will be prepped by tonight to keep tomorrow low key.  I’ve opted for simplicity in every way that I can, and one of those is appetizers.  As a kid, one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving was the leisurely snacking while reconnecting with family, waiting for the meal to be served.  This year I’m honoring that part of the day in one of the very best ways I know how – with a simple assortment of cheeses, meats, and various accoutrements.  Not only is a good cheese plate one of my favorite things to eat, well, anytime, it is one of the most low maintenance appetizer options, period.  (Side note: If you are near a Whole Foods and adventurous enough to brave day-before-Thanksgiving crowds, there is a black truffle gouda that has been on special this week.  To.die.for.)

Grapes often compose the “something sweet” portion of a cheese plate but my fruit basket was overflowing with pears and so, this pear compote was born.  It is easy as can be, made start to finish in 20 minutes at most, and brings that little extra somethin’ somethin’ that grapes just…don’t.  The pears simmer just until tender in a bit of Riesling and are finished off with a sprinkle of nutmeg.  It’s a good thing my meal prep will be done by tonight because I know exactly where I’ll be hanging out tomorrow.  Right next to the cheese plate.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with family, friends, and fantastic food.


3-4 medium pears, peeled and cut into small chunks
3 tbsp. Riesling
2 tbsp. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg


  • 01

    In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the diced pears, Riesling, sugar, and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the pears are just tender and softened, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nutmeg.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • Marta

    Have a lovely holiday, Annie! As always, thinking of you around this time. Mxx

  • Ali @ Solano’s Kitchen

    Now that has to be fate- I’ve got a cheese plate ready to go for Thanksgiving, AND I have a bunch of pears that I don’t know what to do with! This is going on the menu- thanks Annie!

  • annieseats

    Sounds like fate to me! Enjoy :)

  • annieseats

    Thank you Marta, I appreciate it!

  • Kat

    Happy Thanksgiving, Annie. I will be thinking of you today while cooking a few of your recipes.

  • Tracy

    I hope my mom has a cheese plate tomorrow! I know there is always Riesling, so maybe I can slip in a batch of this compote, it looks fantastic! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Stacey

    This sounds fantastic! I love a great cheese plate and am always looking for a fun addition. What cheeses did you pair (hah, pear…) with the compote? Happy Thanksgiving!

  • annieseats

    Well, I am probably the worst person ever to ask about that sort of thing because I have no real experience with which flavors are meant to pair well together, etc. I know that pear and blue cheese are a classic combo so that is one I will use tomorrow, but I personally do not like blue cheese. The other one pictured here is a raw milk gruyere and it paired beautifully with the compote. So I think something along the lines of gruyere is good. I have not tried this with gouda, but have made things in the past with apples and gouda that were delicious, so that would probably work as well.

  • Stacey

    Ah yes, Gruyere…that would go well. Thank you!

  • Mary

    Thanks, Annie! This looks awesome – as always. I have never commented before but I have been an AVID reader of your blog for a couple years now. I use it all the time and it’s one of my #1 sources when I’m recommending recipes to others (I also am a huge Cook’s Illustrated fan, and your frequent use of their recipes is how I originally found you). Thanks so much for all your hard work and great recipes. I also love the recent site updates and the cooking view. I feel like we are food-friends even though it is only digital, and only one-way since I “know” you so well from the blog and you don’t know me at all! :) Happy thanksgiving!

  • annieseats

    Aw, thank you Mary! I am so grateful and thankful for my readers. Thanks for your kind words, and a happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  • We do a LOT of pre-meal snacking in my family. In fact…I probably eat most of my T-Day calories in appetizers! So much cheese. Loving this compote to pair with it! (pun intended.)

  • Pam King

    Is that the Kaltbach gruyere from Whole Foods? I could eat an entire block by myself! It’s my favorite!!

  • Liz @ FloatingKitchen

    Sounds tasty! I’m also doing uncomplicated (no cooking required!) appetizers this year. Cheese plate with a cranberry-apple relish and spiced nuts. Happy Thanksgiving, Annie!

  • Keerthi

    Annie it’s so funny you mention the black truffle gouda, my mom and I went back for seconds (…and thirds) of the samples yesterday before caving in and buying a wedge to take home!

    On a side note I’m making your pumpkin oatmeal cookies for the dessert table tomorrow and I can’t wait. I’ve followed you over the years and know how significant this holiday is for you and your family – wishing you all a lovely thanksgiving :)

  • Hannah

    I’m so thankful for you, Annie! You’ve been my favorite cooking blogger since I found you last year and I make your recipes all the time. I’ve been thinking of you as I made lots and lots of your pie crusts today. :) Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

  • Karen

    Thinking of you this Thanksgiving. This is perfect. Your photos are gorgeous as always.

  • annieseats

    That is exactly what I did! Usually I just have one taste of a sample but with that stuff, I just kept going back.

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate them! Happy Thanksgiving to you :)

  • annieseats

    I don’t think that’s the exact type but I’m not sure. I just knew I needed gruyere for one of my recipes so I bought the first block I saw :) It is wonderful – I love gruyere!

  • Larisa

    Thinking of you and your family today. We are hosting, and my brother’s absence is always present.

  • Kim

    Hi Annie! Just a quick note – I am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year at our place, and your blog has been such a source of inspiration and guidance for me as I prepared (and used lots of your recipes). You are always the first internet “friend” I turn to for recipe inspiration – and I just wanted to send an extra special thanks today. I so appreciate all that you do for your readers, even during this difficult time of year for your family!

  • Kaitlin

    Happy Thanksgiving! I made a few of your recipes this year, and as always, they were fantastic. I’ve read your blog for a few years now and always think of you around Thanksgiving; I hope you had a wonderful day.

  • annieseats

    Thanks Kaitlin. I appreciate it. I hope you had a nice holiday.

  • annieseats

    Thanks so much, Kim. You are too kind. I hope you had a nice holiday :)

  • annieseats

    Thanks Larisa. You are in my thoughts as well.

  • annieseats

    Thank you Hannah! I appreciate it :) I hope you had a nice holiday as well.

  • Diane

    Random question–do you have a digital scale that you recommend?

  • annieseats

    Mine is the Salter brand. I don’t think they make the one I have anymore, but I have been really happy with it. If you check the Annie’s equipment section on the right sidebar, I think I have included something similar from them.

  • Paula @ Dishing the Divine

    I’m looking to use pears NOW (they’re ripe and need to be eaten). Any ideas on long term ways to preserve this so that I could still use it at Thanksgiving? It looks delicious and I can’t see why we couldn’t eat it *before* the big day but I agree that this would be fun to serve then!

  • annieseats

    You would need to look for a recipe specifically developed for canning/preserving. It is not safe to preserve foods not intended for that purpose. Of course you could always just make and enjoy now, and make more later :)

  • Paula @ Dishing the Divine

    Yeah, I was hoping you were going to say “I freeze this all the time and it’s even better frozen!” :) A girl can hope. :) I am tempted to make this now but there are no cheese plates in my near future. I need to think of other things to put it on. So many pears. So little time. :)

  • Cara

    This is delicious! A new go-to app recipe :)

  • Nicole White

    Hey Annie! I am working on my Thanksgiving menu/plan and I was thinking of making this. Like you, I like to spread out the work in the kitchen as much as I can, so I was wondering how far in advance have you made this? I was thinking maybe making it like Tuesday or do you think Wednesday might be better? Thank you!

  • Annie

    Hey Nicole! Sorry for the delayed reply. I definitely think this is fine made in advance. It’s hard to say for sure how soon would be too soon, but I think if I were you I would make this on Wednesday. Enjoy!

  • Nicole White

    Thanks so much Annie! I appreciate your input – I’ll add it to my list for Wednesday then :)