The all purpose pear
Pears not only taste good, but they are a healthy choice too.
Levulose, the sweetest of known natural sugars, is found to a greater extent in fresh pears than any other fruit. And did you know fresh pears have no cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat. They offer a natural, quick source of energy due largely to high amounts of fructose and glucose. Pears are a good source of natural fiber, potassium and vitamin C. And last but not least, a pear is a nutrient-dense food, providing more nutrients per calorie, than calories per nutrient, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are several varieties of pear, includingAnjou,Bartlett, Bose, Comice, Forelle, and Seckel. These fruits have a sweet, rich flavor and come in a variety of colors including green, golden yellow and red. Among these varieties there are only slight differences in flavor and texture.
Oh, and did I mention how versatile they are in both sweet and savory dishes.
Well, let’s not waste any more time talking about them and get to it, shall we.
Vanilla Pear Muffins
Yields 12 muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon (or orange) zest
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large ripe pear, diced
1 Tablespoon butter
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, zest, brown sugar, butter, oil, and applesauce until well combined. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined; do not overmix. Distribute the muffin batter evenly between 12-13 baking cups.
Sauté pears in skillet with butter to soften and lightly brown. Fold into muffin batter. Sprinkle granulated sugar onto the muffins, if desired.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffin tops are lightly browned and bounce back to the touch. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Adapted from Inspired Taste
Bon Appetit Pear Upside Down Cake -
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided, plus more
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar, divided
2 medium pears (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup whole milk
Whipped cream or caramel gelato (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter 8″-diameter round cake pan with 2″-high sides pan; line bottom with a parchment-paper round.
Whisk four, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high. Boil syrup without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar turns dark amber, 8–10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add 1 tablespoon butter (caramel will bubble vigorously) and whisk until smooth. Pour caramel into prepared cake pan and swirl to coat bottom.
Peel, halve, and core the pears. Place flat on a work surface and cut lengthwise into 1/8″-thick slices. Layer slices over caramel, flat side down, overlapping as needed.
Mix remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 8 tablespoon butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping bowl. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites on low speed in a medium bowl until frothy. Increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until whites form soft peaks. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into cake batter. Add in remaining whites; gently fold just to blend. Pour batter over pears in pan; smooth top.
Bake cake, rotating pan halfway through, until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few small moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a thin knife around the inside of pan to release cake. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Invert cake onto a plate; remove parchment paper. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or caramel gelato, if desire
Grilled Nutella and Pear Sandwich
Ingredients (makes 2)
4 slices of wholegrain bread
One pear, peeled and sliced
Spread Nutella onto 2 bread slices. Make a layer of sliced pear. Close with the remaining bread slices and bake in the sandwich toaster or oven until golden brown!
Pressed Ham, Gruyere, and Pear Sandwiches for Two
4 slices country bread
2 teaspoonsDijon mustard
3 ounces Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced or grated
2 ounces thinly sliced deli ham
1 cup baby arugula or young leaf lettuce, shredded
1/2 pear, very thinly sliced (without skin)
Knob of butter
Splash of olive oil
Spread some Dijon mustard on the bread, then stacked half the cheese, ham, arugula, pear, remaining cheese and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Melt butter and oil together in a frying pan or cast iron skillet and press the sandwiches with something heavy until browned on both sides and cheese is melted.
From Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food
Apple & Pear Slaw with Caramel Cider Vinaigrette
Caramel cider vinaigrette ingredients
2 tablespoons jarred caramel sauce, at room temperature
2 tablespoons apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure all your ingredients are at room-temperature, this will ensure they combine well.
Screw the lid onto the jar tightly, and shake the jar vigorously for about 30 seconds to combine and emulsify the dressing. Be sure the caramel is incorporated into the dressing
Apple pear slaw ingredients
2 medium gala apples, cut into long matchsticks
2 medium Fuji apples, cut into long matchsticks
2 Bartlett pears, cut into long matchsticks
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Assembling the slaw
Combine the sliced apples, sliced apples, cranberries and golden raisins in a bowl.
Add about 1/4 cup of the caramel cider vinaigrette and the ground cinnamon and gently toss the slaw to coat it in the dressing.
Allow the slaw to sit covered in the fridge for about an hour before re-tossing and serving.
The slaw will keep, covered in the fridge for up to three days.
Chicken Tangine with Honey Pears
1 chicken, cut up or the equivalent 6 pieces
1 large onion (sliced)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp turmeric
20 dried apricots
3 ripe pears (peeled, cut into 4-6 wedges)
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp drawn butter
3/4 cup whole blanched toasted almonds
5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp olive oil (vegetable oil)
Salt, fresh ground black pepper
Stir together all spices, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat well.
Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tablespoon oil in base of tajine, or in skillet, uncovered, over moderate heat until hot, place the chicken pieces and fry until they turn golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a plate and reserve.
Add the onions to the tajine and cook, stirring from time to time, until golden brown, about 6-7 minutes then add apricots and cook occasionally stir for 2-3 minutes more. Return the chicken to the tajine and add the stock, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 40-50 minutes.
In a saucepan, melt butter until bubbling. Add pears and honey, turning them gently until the honey is caramelized. Put aside.
Serve chicken with honeyed pears, sprinkled with almonds on top, and garnish with parsley.
Overnight Baked Pear Vanilla French Toast
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
3 fresh pears, sliced
4 cups French bread, cut into small pieces (recipe suggest cutting off crust)
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Powdered sugar or maple syrup
Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the water and continue heating until bubbly. Remove from heat and pour into a well-greased 9″x13″ baking pan, making sure to spread it evenly. Arrange the pears on top of the brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle the bread evenly over the pears, then sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla together and pour evenly over the entire mixture.* Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Suggestion** Press the bread down with the hands or a spatula after pouring the egg mixture on top to make sure the bread all gets soaked with the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until it becomes puffy and the eggs are no longer runny. Serve with powdered sugar or maple syrup.
Serves 6 to 8
Source: The Reluctant Entertainer