I used to microwave apple eighths, with skin on, for 11 seconds, then leave for a minute or two. This left them firm, and easy to pick up, but not crunchy. DS always had very ripe, soft pear raw as it came. If it wasn't very ripe, then I treated it the same as apple.
DS now just eats bites of my apple, which he grates off with this front teeth. He's not good with the skin, though, which is why we share. I eat off the skin, he eats the inner bit.
Mr E 22-07-07