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A Paean to Pears


maggiethecat
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Pears.

Apart from bananas, pears are the only fruit in the standard grocery aisle where agribusiness hasn't bothered to breed out flavor and texture for shelf life. It's because they don't need to: the noble pear can be harvested green, ripened on a windowsill or in the fridge. The texture won't turn all woolly and dusty, as the new plums and peaches do. The varieties maintain their flavor profiles and distinguished shapes -- a Bartlett isn't a Bosc or a Comice.

For the cook, a pear can swing sweet or savoury, like any adept apple. (Except that a supermarket pear will leave a supermarket apple in the dust for flavor and texture.) Bake with them, make chutney, infuse vodka with them, serve them with a cheese course, add them to a pork braise -- these round bottomed beauties can do it all. And in my neck of the world, pears are on sale for 39 cents a pound. Even bought green and ripened at home, eaten out of hand, juice will be guaranteed to run down your chin.

Let us now praise famous pears, and the ways you respect them in your kitchen.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Don't forget the awesomeness that even a simple poached pear can be. I found a variety of pear I'd never seen before in the store a couple weeks ago (searched around but I've forgotten the name and couldn't find it anywhere....they were the largest pears I've ever seen, the 'narrow part' in particular was as long as the 'wide part' on most of them. Green and brown/red in colour.) so I bought one and poached it in a ginger syrup, served with vanilla ice cream. mmmmm. Huge bang for your buck (time wise and I suppose monetarily), in my opinion :smile:

Kate

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I just enjoyed a little beauty, as is, out of hand. But I love pears in salad -- they work well with pecans, feta, red onion, lettuce or greens of your choice and a mustardy/balsamic dressing. Also good in soup.

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I havent done much with pears in the past (other than eagerly consume Comices every winter - while waving a large sharp knife at anyone who looks like they might be asking to share). But in my on-going efforts to expose the offspring to as much variety on the table as I can, I think I shall be looking to the pear this winter.

Ginger poached sounds really good. I've seen many a recipe for red-wine poached pears, but cant imagine it tasting good. Do they lend themselves to microwave 'baking' as nicely as apples do?

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Oh, please don't write off the red wine poached pear so quickly! They're yummy, with winter spices like cinnamon and star anise, and served over ice cream with the wine reduced to a syrup. Just remember to turn them over partway through cooking, or you'll end up with unevenly stained pears. :blush:

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I want to know more about pears candied with sweet potatoes . . .

I have eight pears on my kitchen table, Bosc, arranged in a circle, tops pointing inward. A ripening mandala, each day I give their round bottoms a feel.

They followed me home from the farmer's market, saying, clearly, plainly:

pear sorbet . . .

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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two favorite things in the world:

-comice pears, ripe, with nothing else

-pears roasted with sugar and butter; with a sauce made from deglazing the roasting pan with cream. and maybe some cognac and poire william. unbelievably good! i got the idea from james peterson.

Notes from the underbelly

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I did the pear sorbet from The Perfect Scoop, I added the candied ginger.

His measurements are off -- four pears do not equal 2.5 pounds. I used six or seven and it still wasn't enough. I cut back on some of the water because I wasn't paying attention and overcooked the pears.

Absolutely divine, out of this world. The pear flavor is perfectly offset by the delicate heat of the ginger.

A very nice dessert for a meal that includes butternut squash or sweet potatoes.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I'm thinking an upside down cake made with pears instead of pineapple.

The red wine poached pears sound like just the thing for tomorrow's nite dessert, since the weather is supposed to be turning cooler.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality. Clifton Fadiman

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I did the pear sorbet from The Perfect Scoop, I added the candied ginger.

His measurements are off -- four pears do not equal 2.5 pounds.  I used six or seven and it still wasn't enough.  I cut back on some of the water because I wasn't paying attention and overcooked the pears.

Absolutely divine, out of this world.  The pear flavor is perfectly offset by the delicate heat of the ginger. 

...

Another nice frozen pear dessert is the one for pear ice cream in Lindsey Shere's "Chez Panisse Desserts". I served this with her French almost-flourless cake and it was a nice match. Another time I served it w/a pear sorbet (also from CP Desserts).

The last poached pears I did were in white wine w/elderberry flower syrup---very nice.

For salads I like a mix of pears, blitter greens, roasted hazelnuts and crumbled blue cheese with a simple lemon vinagrette.

Speaking of vinaigrettes, I just bought a copy of the wonderful Jimtown Store Cookbook. They have a recipe for a pear vinaigrette that sounds very interesting.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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  • 2 months later...

I was so fortunate that i got a big box of pears today - i estimate there is over 40 of them allmost ripe and ready to go.

Sure some are going to do be eaten as they is, but there is no way i can eat them all in time.

Anyone with good ideas or recipe for creative use of them - not only for desserts :cool::cool:

http://www.grydeskeen.dk - a danish foodblog :)
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I love dried pears

for a savory way to use them fresh I make this dish not exactly a recipe but here is how it goes

a bunch of mixed fresh seafood ..I love to use scallops, prawns and squid saute with some wonderful smokey bacon and cut up fresh ripe pears... then finish with some heavy cream a little salt and pepper

I have a picture I can post someplace

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Put them in a salad with mixed greens, goat cheese or blue cheese, etc.

Here are a few recipes from my files that sound really good. (haven't made any of these yet). The first one sounds amazing - I can't find it online anymore, so I'll PM you the recipe if you're interested:

Roasted Pear Salad with Chocolate-Scented Goat Cheese and Chocolate and Roasted Pear Vinaigrette

Tamarind and Orange Roast Duck With Warm Pear Salad

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/2703/tamar...warm+pear+salad

Baby Greens, Pear, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Salad

from Bon Appetit

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/107065

Edited by merstar (log)
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Dry them. Split in half and cored.

Then, when you want to use them, instead of plumping them in water, put them in a steamer and steam them for about 15 minutes. They will be like candy.

You can also make "Pear Honey" which actually doesn't have anything to do with honey.

It's really a simple recipe:

Pear Honey

4 medium sized pears, peeled and cored, cut in half.

3 cups sugar.

Place 1/3 of the sugar on the bottom of a pan that is large enough to hold 4 pear halves laying flat, cut side down.

Place the rest of the pears, cut side up, in and around the ones on the bottom.

Pour the remainder of the sugar over the top of the pears.

Cover the pan and place over low heat and cook for 1 hour.

Remove the pan lid and continue cooking over low heat for 1 1/2 hours.

Using a potato masher (the wire type) smush the pears and mix well with a wood spoon

(or silicone spoon, just don't use a metal spoon).

Return to the low heat and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

Pour into a quart jar (or two pint jars and seal.

Store in the fridge unless you want to process it in a hot water bath for 15 minutes, then it can be stored at room temperature.

If there is some that won't fit into the quart jar, use it immediately or within a couple of days.

You can add some grated ginger mixed in with the sugar, pear and ginger go together nicely.

This is very good spread on:

Apricot Ginger Scones

An original recipe by Andie

(any dried fruit may be substituted for the apricots; apple, fig, peach, pear, mango, etc. chop and measure equally after steaming the dried fruits.)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar, superfine or caster sugar if available

2 1/2 tsp baking powder - I recommend Rumsford and make sure it is fresh!

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp kosher salt, Diamond Flake. If using regular salt make it 1/2 teaspoon.

5 tablespoons COLD butter, cut into 1/2 inch dice

3/4 cup dried apricots, steamed to plump and finely diced

1/3 cup crystallized or candied ginger, finely diced

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 cup cold buttermilk

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix.

Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like large or coarse crumbs.

(You can also mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl with a wire whisk then cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, fork or two knives.)

Add the diced apricots, ginger and lemon zest. Pulse about 3 times if using the food processor.

The fruit should be distributed evenly throughout the mixture.

Add the buttermilk and pulse or mix until the dough forms a ball or all the dry ingredients are moistened.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Lightly flour a board and turn the dough out onto it.

Knead a few times until the dough holds together and feels smooth to the touch.

Divide dough into two equal portions, form into a ball.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the dough balls on the parchment and flatten to about 3/4 inch thick.

There should be about 1 1/2 inch space between the rounds.

with a bench knife or straight knife, cut straight down through the dough across the center of each round then cut crosswise so each round is divided into 4 quarters.

Place baking sheet in preheated oven and set timer for 20 minutes.

Check and if they are not yet lightly browned, leave in oven about 5 more minutes.

Remove immediately from oven, slide parchment onto a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly but serve warm with butter or clotted cream and lemon curd or your favorite jam or jelly. Or you can make Pear Honey, see recipe below….

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I don't have a recipe nor have I ever made it, but you get sick of eating pear-related things, you can make some pear butter with the rest and can it for later use. I love apple butter, and I love pears, so I think I would love pear butter, too.

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gallery_38722_5277_336.jpg

This is a treat I make for my husband & youngest daughter when I get my hands on some really luscious ripe pears (which isn't as often as I'd like.) Not terribly fanciful, but might be good for a few of your stash. I drizzle peeled slices with melted butter, sprinkle them with brown sugar & blue cheese, then put them under the broiled just until things start to get melty & slightly browned. I finish with a little cracked black pepper. Homey.

Enjoy the bounty!

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There are five or six old pear trees on my uncle's farm, so we get a lot of pears. If they are firm when cooked, spiced pears preserved in vinegar/sugar syrup are great. I've made pear cranberry chutney, and several pear jams from Christine Ferber's books. Pear ginger and pear chestnut come to mind. They also dry beautifully and then you just chop them up, cover them with rum, and use them next holiday in your fruitcake. When everyone has their fill of pears, we pick them up off the ground and toss them to the cows. You don't have cows, do you? :biggrin:

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I don't have a recipe nor have I ever made it, but you get sick of eating pear-related things, you can make some pear butter with the rest and can it for later use.  I love apple butter, and I love pears, so I think I would love pear butter, too.

Pear butter??? YUM!!!!!!!!!!!

If anyone has a tried and true recipe they'd like to share, please do so. I love pears, the only thing I drink these days is pear nectar!

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my favorite dessert this time of year is roasted pears.

peel, core and halve them, put them in a single layer in a roasting pan that can go on the stove, pile on some sliced butter and sprinkle with sugar.

put in an oven, somewhere between 350 and 500 degrees (the softer and riper the pears, the shorter and hotter the cooking)

pull out when the pears are meltingly soft and the sugar/pear juices have started to caramelize on the bottom of the pan (20 minutes to an hour or so).

set pears aside, put pan on stove on high heat, and deglaze with some cream. disolve all the butter and pan drippings into the cream. reduce until you like the consistency. finish with some cognac or poire william if you like. simmer to take the edge off the alcohol. strain.

serve pear halves plated on a small pool of sauce.

Notes from the underbelly

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I've made pork chops with pears, sauteeing the pears in some brown sugar & butter first, then pulling them & browning the chops, and then adding some chicken broth/stock and balsamic vinegar to the chops to finish cooking. Stick the pears back in to warm up before serving. (it's a recipe from www.savingdinner.com , so I'm hugely paraphrasing).

Also, I would think any recipe with apples could probably use pears instead. For instance, I did chicken breasts baked with oregano, onion & apples on top; pears could replace those apples, I think.

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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