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Jul 21, 2007 09:11 AM

What to do with pears?

Thanks for your advice regarding all those peaches and apricots that my neighbor brought over. I made jam with the apricots, froze some of the peaches and made a crisp with some of them. Now the neighbor has brought over pears. Any ideas for what I can do with them? Thanks!

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  1. I adore pears! I think they are so overlooked in both sweet and savoury cooking.

    For me, the natural savoury partner is cheese - gruyere, brie, gorgonzola - almost anything, actually! So add pears, sliced, into cheese sandwiches, serve wedges with cheese for a snack, even in cheesy pastas. I had a delicious open sandwich at a cafe the other day - gorgonzola, arugula, serrno ham and mustard roast pears (I think the pears were wedged, roasted, then spread with a mustard dressing and roasted another two minutes).

    In terms of baking with pears, I like to make pear butter, I jar poached pears (poached in a light sugar syrup, or red wine), grilled pears, cube pears for baking breads and muffins (slightly firm ones which aren't watery are best), pear galettes, pear parfait (frozen, like ice cream/mousse), pear polenta tart, and pear pies. Forelle pears are in season here, so my next projects will be: chocolate pear tart and pear eu de vie.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gooseberry

      The pears that my neighbor brought over are apple pears. They are a firm, golden green colored pear. I like your ideas, Gooseberry but I have no idea how to make pear butter or pear galettes. I had never considered making them into a pear pie or tart but that would be a tasty way to use them. The savory ideas sound wonderful as well. I have a large bag of them so I am eager to experiment. Thanks for your ideas!

      1. re: dimsumgirl

        Have you thought about drying some, like the stone fruit, or candy them like
        pineapple. I use to stop at the case de fruita on highway 152 past dos palos
        and I would be going to salinas. I would always stop there going and comming
        back. There was a man who would juggle coffee cups when he served coffee
        over there. they had dried fruit of all kinds, I know the variety you have and
        I don`t think that variety has enough sugar in it to do those things. I always
        used the bartlett pear. It would be interesting to find though. good luck.

        1. re: dimsumgirl

          A galette is a rough puff or puff pastry disk, with sliced fruit in its centre, and its edges pleated over the edge of the fruit to keep the juices in. Basically, a very rustic fruit tart, which is easier to make than a pie or fancy tart.

          apple butter or pumpkin butter are more common, but pear butter uses the same technique. It's basically a fruit puree, cooked to create a richer, deeped flavour. I use it instead of jam, because it contains less sugar and has a fresher fruitier flavour.

          Make pear puree (peeled chunks of pear gently cooked with a splash of water until soft. Pass through a sieve). Place in a heavy bottomed pot (or le creuset style enamel coated cast iron), with sugar to taste (anything from a couple pinches to equal weight to pears). Cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the puree is thickened, darkened to a golden colour, and tastes jammy. Add a splash of water from time to time if sticking or scorching is a problem. Bottle, and use as you would jam.

          Remember, it reduces a lot, so lots of puree will create a lot less fruit butter!

      2. It's an old standard, but I like pears sliced into a salad of lettuce, roquefort, and toasted (or caramelized) walnuts, with a sherry (or cider) vinegar and walnut oil vinaigrette...

        2 Replies
        1. re: ItinerantKitchenElf

          I love to sautee the pears in a little butter to soften them and heat them through, and serve warm with that salad. Walnut oil would be delicious...thanks for the idea. I also like a balsamic dressing, since it's sweetness complements the pears and blue cheese nicely.

          Another delicious way to use pears is to make a pair and almond paste tart in a nice shortbread crust.

          1. re: bear

            Balsamic would be good; I'll try that. I've also done the salad with a sweetish dressing made from honey, grain mustard, and cider vinegar, which was tasty...

        2. If I am not mistaken, Galley girl has a famous pear tart somewhere on this board.

          1. how about a spiced pears in brandy - keep in jars and lovely for xmas or gifts