Well, in terms of the pear, it wasn't ripe. Pears actually have to be picked unripe and left to ripen off the tree, but they're often sold before they're ready, especially by supermarkets (farmers' markets sometimes do, but not as much). When ripe, they're delicious. D'anjou pears in particular are a buttery pear, so they should be just that, as opposed to something like an Asian pear, which is crisp.
Having said that, pears are one of those fruits that take well to cooking and that many prefer cooked.

Cooking in general concentrates sugar, eliminates water, changes texture. If you cook further, the sugars caramelize (Maillard reaction when we're talking about protein taking on color) which provides even more flavor.

Last edited by Saria; 10-06-2010 at 09:26 AM.