Things to Do with Pears
This time I will be concentrating on pears. I'm featuring them because it has been a brilliant year for them. My tree was weighed down with them. So, I thought I would pass on a few recipes featuring pears.
My first recipe is for a pear chutney, and as with all chutney recipes, you make them now but they are best left for about 3 months to mature. So when you open your jar of chutney on a cold winter's day, you will fill your mouth with the taste of summer, lovely!
PEAR & LEMON CHUTNEY
5 kg of pears
3 cloves of garlic
125g stem ginger
125g seedless raisins
600ml white wine vinegar
5 shallots or an onion
1 large lemon
500g brown sugar
1tsp each of ground turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, salt & coriander.
1 Peel, core and dice the pears, chop the shallot, crush the garlic, chop the stem ginger and slice the lemons thinly [removing the pips]
2 Put all the ingredients into a large pan, add the fruit, sugar, vinegar and spices
3 Bring everything to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer, stirring frequently, to avoid it catching and burning
4 When the ingredients are soft and the chutney has a firm consistency pot at once in sterilised jars
5 Label and store in a cool place to mature
As with all chutneys you can adapt them to suit your own taste. For example, leave out the stem ginger and add 125g of dates, or add 500g apples instead of the lemon! Just add or omit anything you fancy
Pear, Raspberry, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad
Juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ripe pears
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons runny honey
200g blue cheese (whatever you choose)
Salt & pepper
Pre-heat the oven gas 4, place the walnuts on a tray and pop them in for about 5 - 8 minutes until fragrant and lightly coloured. Then take them out to cool. Then simply break them up with your hands.
Peel core and dice one of the pears and put it into a pan with the orange juice and a little splash of water.
Bring it up to a simmer over a medium heat and simmer until the pear is soft. Take it off the heat, then you can either blitz it with a hand blender or you can pass it through a sieve.
Add the lemon juice, the thyme leaves and the honey and all the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and whisk it well, then leave to cool.
Cut the rest of the pears into 8 pieces length ways and arrange on a plate. Crumble over the cheese, scatter over the raspberries and then the broken walnuts. Drizzle with the dressing and serve it with whatever cold meats you like. It's quite lovely!
It can be adapted by changing the nuts, cheese or fruit. It works well every time.
PEAR AND VANILLA CRISP
4 firm pears
35g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping
100g coarse fresh breadcrumbs
25g caster sugar
50g melted butter
Preheat the oven to gas 6/200c
1 For the topping combine the breadcrumbs, butter and sugar together, then set aside
2 Peel the pears, core them then slice them. mix together with the sugar and vanilla
3 Arrange half of the pears in a shallow buttered dish and sprinkle over half of the crumble, then repeat till everything has been used up
4 Bake for about 20-30 minutes till the pears are soft and the topping is golden brown and crisp
5 Serve with cream, ice cream or custard
CHOCOLATE AND PEAR CAKE
Ingredients for the pears
4 just ripe pears
2 tablespoon soft brown sugar
Finely grate zest of an orange
Ingredients for the cake
150g butter softened
100g ground almonds
100g s/r flour
25g cocoa powder
150 caster sugar
2 large eggs
A splash of milk
Preheat the oven gas 3/170c and line a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
For the cake
Beat the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time
Then add the rest of the ingredients slowly beating well
Then add a drop of milk until you have a dropping consistency
Spread the mixture in the prepared cake tin and arrange the pears on the top
Pour over the buttery sugar juices from the pears and bake for about 45 minutes. Leave to cool slightly in the tin
Serve with this simple chocolate sauce:-
100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, 75ml double cream, 25g caster sugar and 2tbs water
Break up the chocolate and put it into a heatproof bowl with the cream, sugar and 2tbs water. Place this over a pan of just simmering water and leave to melt. Give it a quick stir once or twice and it will become quite glossy and thick. Use at once.
Herby Roast Pears
1kg firm pears, washed, peeled, cored then cut into 8 pieces length ways.
Several generous sprigs of thyme
Several generous sprigs of rosemary
6 - 8 bay leaves
150ml pear juice (if you can't get pear juice use apple juice)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat the oven gas 5
Layer the pears in an ovenproof dish.
Scatter with the herbs.
Pour over the fruit juice, dot with butter.
Sprinkle over the sugar, then season with salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and pop into the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the fruit is tender.
Take off the foil and pop back into the oven for a further 15 - 20 minutes until the juices have reduced and the pears are beginning to caramelise.
This is excellent served with any game dishes, lamb or pork. You can also use it with any cold meats, tossed into a salad with some lightly toasted walnuts, cashews or any other nuts. Again, crumb over some crumbled blue or goat's cheese.