Pears!


I got a call yesterday from H’s son-in-law to go out to a super-secret location and pick pears.  We didn’t have to do much picking–the hard freeze dropped them all to the ground.  Still, they were in great shape, and I ended up with somewhere between thirty and forty pounds of them, by my hefting estimate.

I’ll be distributing a few to various friends and folks that have so generously shared their own produce with me, and will likely do a combination of canning and freezing with the rest.

I remember one year my parents did these amazing pears with some sort of wine sauce or syrup.  I was pretty young, and it felt pretty cool to be allowed such a “classy” treat (there was very little alcohol left in them after the processing).

In consulting my various canning books–Putting Food By and the Ball Blue Book, it looks like there are all kinds of tasty possibilities–not all of which call for massive amounts of sugar.  I have my eye especially on pears canned with cinnamon and apple juice and the pears in almond liqueur from the Blue Book.  ‘Cause, as I’ve said before, there’s nothing better than boozy fruit!

I’m not planning on cellaring too many of these because they did drop from the tree, so I don’t want them to end up rotting from the inside as pears that drop will often do.

So, I’ll need some good ideas.  Any fantastic pear recipes out there you’d be willing to share?

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6 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve been hoping to make pear butter this season…

  2. mmm, I love pears. I like to poach them in spiced cider (the alcoholic stuff – do you call that hard cider in the US?) It’s not a recipe for canning but I imagine it could be adapted to be. Anyhow, here’s the recipe – hope you like:
    Ingredients
    4 firm pears
    500ml bottle of cider (I used Dunkertons Organic)
    40g vanilla sugar or caster sugar
    1 large cinnamon stick (or 2 small)
    6 cloves
    Peel the pears but leave the stem on. Place in a saucepan with the cider, sugar and spices. Bring to the boil then transfer to a casserole dish and bake in a low oven for 1 hour. Turn the pears over and bake for a further hour. Can be eaten warm or chilled.
    Yum!

  3. Posted by Lindsey on October 30, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I like plain old dehydrated pears. Yum!

  4. holiday pear pie (a thankyou for lots of growing and food advice)
    2/3 cup sugar
    3 tbsp ground instant tapioca or Clear Gel pie thickener
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 vanilla bean
    2 ½ lb pears, peeled, cored, wedged
    2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
    1/3 cup pear juice or nectar
    2 tbsp unsalted butter cold, cubed
    1 T whole milk
    1 T coarse sugar
    Double pie crust

    Stir sugar, tapioca or gel, and nutmeg together. Scrape seeds from split vanilla bean. Stir seeds into dry ingredients until incorporated. Toss dry ingredients with pears, cranberries, and juice until fruit is well coated. Transfer into pie shell. Dot the top w butter cubes. Return to fridge if preparing a lattice top crust.
    Top pie w lattice strips. May use a whole top if you don’t feel like fooling w lattice. Just be sure to vent it. Transfer to baking sheet. Brush top crust w milk, sprinkle w coarse sugar , and bake for 50 minutes. If edges are turning golden too quickly, cover edges w pie shield or foil and return to oven until filling is bubbly and pears are fork tender, approx 20 minutes. Remove and cool for two hours.

  5. Posted by Matt on October 30, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Pear Ice Cream
    1 1/2 lbs ripe pears
    3 T. water
    1 1/2 c. whipping cream
    5/8 c. sugar
    4 egg yolks
    A few drops vanilla extract

    Quarter, core, and peel pears. They should be so ripe that the juice oozes from them and they look shiny wherever you cut them. Cut in rough slices into non-corroding saucepan and add water. There should be enough water just to cover bottom of pan to keep pears from scorching until they release their own juice. Cook until completely heated through or they will turn brown when you puree them. Puree in blender or processor or press through strainer, and measure 1 1/2 cups.

    Heat half of cream with sugar until sugar dissolves. Whisk yolks just until mixed and pour into warm cream, stirring constantly. Return egg yolk mixture to pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until custard coats spoon. Strain into pear puree, add rest of cream and vanilla to taste. Chill, then freeze in your ice cream maker

    Pear Caramel Ice Cream:
    1 recipe Pear Ice Cream
    2 additional pears
    4 T. unsalted butter
    4 T. sugar
    1/2 c. whipping cream

    Make pear ice cream, cooking two extra pears. After you cook pears, but before you puree, take out 1/2 c. pear juice. Put juice, butter, and sugar in small, non-corroding saucepan and cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly, until caramel turns pale golden brown. Remove from heat and carefully add cream, stirring all the while. Return to heat and cook, stirring, until all caramel has dissolved. Chill until it is thick enough to swirl into the ice cream, and add it when the pear ice cream comes from the ice cream maker.

    Pear Sherbet
    3-3 1/2 lbs ripe, juicy pears
    1/4 c. water
    3/4 c. sugar
    Your choice of kirsch, Pear William, cognac, armagnac, or brandy

    Quarter, core, and peel pears, cut into rough slices into a non-corroding saucepan. Add water, cover, and cook over low to medium heat about 10 minutes, until pears are heated through. Puree, then mix in sugar while puree is hot and stir until sugar has dissolved and you no longer feel grains between your fingers. Add a few drops of your choice liqueur, chill, and freeze in your ice cream maker.

  6. Posted by Matt on November 3, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Since posting the ice cream and sherbet recipes (which are from the glorious Chez Panisse Desserts cookbook), I’ve been drooling over the thought of you making one of them (I’m hoping you’ll find an ice cream maker to borrow or chance upon an electric-style on the shelves of the Civ).

    I had 4 very ripe golden delicious apples that I’d intended to dip in caramel for halloween gifts but just never got around to, so I cut those along with two not-quite-ripe enough Bartlett pears, threw them into a non-corroding pot 😉 with 1/4t. cinnamon and 1/8t. cloves, cooked them down, smushed it up a potato masher and thinned it with a whisk into a slightly chunky puree. Poured that into a bowl with 3/4c. + 1 T. superfine sugar. Meanwhile, 1 2/3c. cream heated on the stove, mixed a bit with 3 quick-whisked egg yolks, then the egg mixture into the cream on the stove. Stirred constantly until the spoon was coated with a thin custard. Poured that into the apple-pear puree, whisked it with a generous dollop of Mexican vanilla.

    Dear God, I could’ve eaten it all like that…rich, warm caramelly custard around juicy clusters of spice-tinted pear-applesauce.

    I’m going to serve this at work on election day along with some Vanilla-Almond Tea. There’s been some personnel changes and the stress of retail is heightening. Sometimes it feels as if we never have time to talk together, and it will be a great day to toast in November, month of Thanksgiving.

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