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Aug 12, 2012 11:27 AM

Help! Too many pears

My comice pear tree has been wildly prolific this year. I have canned some in a brandied, vanilla bean syrup. Some have been poached in port, cinnamon, orange juice, cloves and cranberries.

But I have pounds and pounds still. To be honest, they aren't the best eating pear. The flavor is weak to my taste. And they get soft when heat is applied (so making a tart, for instance, worries me).

I'd feel better about donating them to a food bank if they had more flavor.

Ideas, please, for using them in food preparation.

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  1. Google the caramelized pears with cream from PBS's Essential Pepin. It's dead simple and insanely good. Essentially, you sugar the pear halves and bake a while, then add cream and bake until it reduces. The baking should intensify the flavor, though if it's really weak I would add some pear schnapps and/or almond extract.

    2 Replies
      1. re: Discerning1

        That's it. As you can see, it's easy. Words cannot describe how good it is, and it's just as good with apples. Probably peaches, plums, etc., as well, though they'd disintegrate. You do need to use actual cream for that luscious flavor. Don't try to make this a low-cal dessert.
        On the other hand, a small portion is satisfying.

    1. Make and can pear butter. It uses a lot, and you can reduce it down to concentrate the flavor.

      1. Years ago, when we lived in Missouri, our old pear tree had a very prolific year. They were the hard, "cooking/canning" pears... never got soft enough to eat raw. I made pear chutney. I can't find the exact recipe. It was in one of my Southern community cookbooks. But, this one is similar:
        We loved it! Gave it as gifts, ate it with soft cheeses, with Indian food, etc., etc. We moved to GA later that year and left the tree behind. I still long for that chutney!

        3 Replies
        1. re: onrushpam

          Yes, Pear Butter is wonderful. Also, my husband's aunt made Pear Honey with fruit from our tree. Some versions are strained and really look like honey. But, her version had chunks of pears in it, something like this:

          1. re: onrushpam

            I'm confused. Since the recipe calls for a cup of vinegar, is this a sweet and sour flavor? The name Pear Honey sounds sweet.

            1. re: Discerning1

              I haven't actually made that recipe. As I recall, the Pear Honey made by DH's aunt was very sweet, but it did have some acid to it... vinegar or lemon juice. I'm guessing the vinegar isn't all that noticeable in the recipe I linked to and without it, the "honey" would darken.
              The chutney recipe, OTOH, is definitely sweet/sour/spicy.

        2. Donate them to the FB, when food is in need flavor takes a back seat, they still have a nutritional value.

          1. I have made pear honey more interesting by adding candied ginger and a whole lemon as I grind (or Cuisinart) the pears, then also adding a can of crushed pineapple to the mix before I boil it all down.