Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 15 March 2012 Contents WHAT’S COOKING
Page 12 | 15 March, 2012
Some of my friends claim – wrongly
in my opinion – that pears are a
bland fruit. Although the apple is
more widely eaten today, in ancient times the pear was considered to
be the superior fruit. In China only one variety of apple was known until
the end of the Sung dynasty (AD 1279), but there were many varieties
of pear. In classical Greece and Rome a similar preference was evident
and during the Middle Ages the pear was especially popular in France
and Italy. Why? Perhaps because the flavour of the pear is delicate and
subtle while the flavour of the apple is robust.
Most varieties enjoyed these days – and there are over 1000 – are the
results of crosses developed in seventeenth and eighteenth century
Europe and America from the original wild pear, which originated in the
general region of the Caucasus.
Pears do not ripen well on the tree and are generally picked and sold
green. To hasten ripening, place hard pears in a paper bag or a covered
fruit bowl and leave at room temperature. Check for ripeness by
applying gentle pressure at the stem end of the pear with your thumb.
When it yields to pressure, it’s ready to eat.
Among the least allergenic of foods, pears are well tolerated by nearly
everyone. They are high in natural sugar and a useful source of vitamin
C and potassium, which plays an important role in regulating blood
pressure. Pears are a luscious health food.
A selection of pears:
Honey Belle: a relatively new variety grown in Hawke’s Bay – are
available now until May. They are generally smaller, ideal for kid’s
snacks, or for great little pear cakes.
Beurre Bosc: a golden-russet pear with rich flesh. When firm, it is ideal
for cooking but when soft it is delicious eaten fresh. Available
mid-March until May.
Doyenne du Comice: a large pear with a green skin and reddish blush.
Great for eating fresh but it may also be cooked if firm. Look for Comice
Winter Nelis: is considered a late season pear available from late
March. It has a high juice content and is best eaten fresh.
The pears can be poached a day
Pears: 6 small pears eg Honey Belle
2 tablespoons lemon juice
350ml late harvest riesling or
Cakes: 1⁄2 cup sugar
125g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
3 large eggs
250g ground almonds
1⁄2 cup plain flour or gluten-free
Peel the pears leaving the stems
intact. Using a small melon baller,
remove the cores from the base.
Sprinkle with lemon juice. Bring
the wine to the boil. Add the pears.
Cover and poach for 20 minutes,
carefully turning twice during
cooking. Remove to a bowl. Boil
the liquid rapidly, until reduced.
Pour over the pears. Cool.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Lightly butter and flour six, 1-cup
ramekins or #2 soufflé dishes.
Shake out any excess flour. Place
in a baking pan.
To make the cake, place the sugar
and butter in a food processor and
mix until smooth. Add the vanilla.
With the motor running, add the
eggs one at a time. Pulse in the
ground almonds, flour or baking
mix and salt.
Divide the mixture evenly between
the ramekins, about a generous
1⁄2 cup in each. Pat the pears
dry then nestle a pear in each
ramekin, pressing it lightly into the
Bake for about 30 minutes in the
middle of the oven, rotating the
pan after 15 minutes.
Cook until golden.
Transfer the ramekins to a board
To serve, run a thin knife around
the edge and upturn.
Place right side up on serving
Great served warm or at room
temperature with plain yoghurt or
ice cream. Serves 6.
Little pear cakes
Little pear cakes
1 sheet savoury short pastry
11⁄2 firm but ripe pears, peeled,
cored and thickly sliced
1 medium red onion, cut into 8
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1⁄4 cup cream
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped
150g goat’s feta, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place
an oven tray in to heat in the
bottom third of the oven. Lightly
butter an 18cm flan pan.
Line the flan with the pastry,
trimming and patching the edges.
Line the pastry with foil, or baking
paper and dried beans, and bake
blind for 15 minutes. Remove
the foil and continue baking for 5
minutes, until golden.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a
heavy frying pan. Sauté the pears,
until lightly golden.
Remove and drain on paper
towels. Add the onion and pan-fry
for about 2 minutes.
Sprinkle with sugar and continue
cooking until lightly browned.
Place with the pears in the flan.
Whisk the cream, eggs, thyme
and parsley and pour over the top.
Sprinkle with the goat’s feta.
Bake at 190°C for about 25
minutes, until set.
Goat’s cheese, pear & caramelised onion tart
2 ripe but firm pears, cut into
8 wedges and cored
8 thin slices prosciutto, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
freshly ground salt and black
pepper to taste
Wrap the pear wedges with
Set on a serving plate.
Drizzle with the oil, vinegar, salt
Serves 2 as a starter.
2 firm but ripe pears, chilled
fresh lemon juice
1 small avocado
Asian Dressing: 1⁄2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon each: light soy sauce,
1⁄4 cup rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
2cm piece root ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Quarter and core the pears. Peel,
if preferred. Halve. Stone and slice
the avocado. Thinly slice the pears
and fan onto four serving plates
together with the avocado. Drizzle
with a little lemon juice.
Place all the ingredients for the
dressing in a blender or food
processor and combine, until
Spoon a little over the pears and
avocado just before serving.
Great garnished with mint or
Serves 4 as a starter.
Pears with an Asian dressing
A popular café recipe, this recipe could also make 2 smaller, individual flans.
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