In “Weeknight Cooking with Your Instant Pot,” personal chef and cooking teacher turned full-time food blogger Kristy Bernardo didn’t set out to write a how-to. Rather, she offers a collection of 75 recipes using the machine to put dinner on the table in a fraction of the usual time, from quick wild mushroom risotto to 30-minute ribs. Bernardo also includes instructions for converting the recipes to slow cooking by the wildly touted kitchen workhorse. I was intrigued by the apparent ease of poaching pears (see recipe below) — no covering with a parchment paper circle or frequent turning needed to prevent browning. Who knew? Page Street Publishing. $19.99.

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Vanilla Poached Pears With Luscious Chocolate Sauce

Adapted from “Weeknight Cooking with Your Instant Pot”

4 servings

This simple, yet elegant, dessert … (is) perfect for a dinner party because the Instant Pot keeps the pears warm until you’re ready to serve. Serve them on their own or drizzle with the chocolate sauce….

Cook time

(Slow cook) 30 minutes (Under pressure) 3 minutes

Luscious Chocolate Sauce

2 cups (454 g) dark chocolate chunks

1 cup (336 ml) heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons (30 ml) Grand Marnier (optional)


5 cups (1.2 L) water

2 cups (454 g) sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 vanilla bean

4 ripe pears, peeled


1. Make the sauce first. Press “Slow Cook” on your Instant Pot and set to “high.” Add the chocolate and cream to the pot. Cover and heat for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time.

2. Open the lid and stir until combined. Stir in the vanilla and Grand Marnier (if using). Set aside and clean out the Instant Pot to make the pears.

3. Press “Saute” to reheat the pot. Pour the water and sugar into the pot. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean to the pot, then nestle the pears into the liquid.

4. Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Press “Manual” and adjust the timer to 3 minutes. Check that the cooking pressure is on “high” and that the release valve is set to “Sealing.”

5. When the time is up, open the Instant Pot using “Quick Pressure Release.” Remove the pears from the pot and serve them with a generous amount of the Luscious Chocolate Sauce.

Reprinted with permission from Weeknight Cooking with Your Instant Pot by Kristy Bernardo, Page Street Publishing Co. Photo credit: Becky Winkler.