Tag-Archive for ◊ pear ◊

15 Nov 2010 Poached Pear Salad

My friend Louise made this wonderful Poached Pear Salad for Cookbook Club last weekend.  Louise, one of the best cooks in the world,  has been making this salad, to much acclaim, for her family’s Thanksgiving dinner for the last I-don’t-know-how-many years.  I am so glad Louise shared this with us!  You have your hands on tried-and-true family recipe! The Poached Pear Salad is ideal for any fancy meal. It would also be good for a light lunch when paired (peared! now there’s a joke in the making… Hmm, no light bulbs going off here…, obviously someone more talented than I needs to come up with it 🙂 ) when paired with a bowl of soup or a sandwich. The salad looks elegant, tastes great and is dead easy to throw together at the last minute (as longs as the pears have been made and chilled ahead of time).

The green salad surrounding the poached pear can be customized as  you wish.  Louise used a bag of mixed salad greens, including some of that bitter stuff, and a sprinkling of feta cheese (some pomegranate seeds might have been a  nice addition, too).  I am going to use mixed lettuces with a sprinkling of blue cheese, some sweet and spicy pecans and some dried cranberries.  My daughter is thinking about baby spinach, macadamia nuts and goat cheese.  What will you come up with?  Arugula, walnuts and orange bits?  Bibb lettuce and almonds? Let me know!

Three cheers for Poached Pear Salad!! Easy, customizable, good looking, and great tasting! I have a feeling this salad will become a staple in my, and your, dinner party and elegant lunch repertoire.

Poached Pear Salad

  • 6-8 Bosch Pears, with stems left on, peeled (Bosch pears are the ugly brown skinned pears.  I’d suggest using smaller pears so your guests aren’t too full after the salad to enjoy the main meal)
  • 2 cups Port, Shriaz or Zinfandel (The choice of wine will affect the taste of your pears.  Louise prefers a good port.  I liked the pears poached in Zinfandel)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 slices orange
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 bag of salad greens
  • Cheese of choice, about 1 T. per plate (feta, blue, goat)
  • Extra toppings of choice, if desired: chopped nuts, candied nuts, dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds…
  • In a large pan with a lid, combine wine, sugar, water, and star anise.  Turn heat to high and bring mixture just to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

    Add peeled whole pears-with stem intact-to hot liquid turning to coat well.

    Stir in orange slices

    Cover pan and simmer pears on low for 10 to 15 minutes, turning pears occasionally, until pears are tender, but still hold their shape.

    Discard star anise.  Remove pears to a bowl and set aside to cool.

    Turn up heat under the wine mixture, heat to boiling, and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.  Liquid should thicken and reduce to 1 ½ cups. (Pour liquid into measuring cup every once in awhile to measure progress).  When pears are cool, cut in half lengthwise, and carefully remove core.

    Pour reduced wine and the orange slices over halved pears.  Cover and chill for at least 4-6 hours, and up to two days.

    When ready to serve, cut pear into a fan and the bottom(see picture above), and keeping intact at the narrow top end.  Place pear in the middle of a salad plate and carefully spread out the fanned bottom part.

    Discard the orange slices. Reserve the wine syrup and pour into a serving bowl to pass at the table (will be extra dressing).

    Circle the fanned pear with a desired amount of salad greens.  Sprinkle greens and/or pear with approximately 1T. of the crumbled cheese of your choice and any desired “gilding the lily” toppings.

    Pass the reserved wine syrup at the table as a dressing (or serve with a light champagne vinaigrette).

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today…, and I am so glad you were able to meet my good friend Louise.  Maybe one of these days she will share some more of her recipes with us!

    18 Oct 2010 Pear Crisp

    Ahhh, fall comfort food!  I love baked pears and I love an oatmeal rich crisp topping.  This is a basic Pear Crisp recipe, if you want something fancier, check out my Drunken Pear Crisp with Cherries recipe.  I cut this recipe from a Cooking Light magazine years ago.  I’ve fooled with it quite a bit, more spices, more oatmeal, more pears… LOL!  The quantities here fit nicely into a 8 or 9 inch square baking pan.  If you have a lot more pears, just up the quantities by by 50% and bake in a 9 inch by 13 inch pan.

    Ummm, true confession time.  We like this best at room temperature, for breakfast.  Hey! It’s oatmeal! It’s fruit!

    A few years ago I asked my son to type the recipe out for me, with my changes. He did, but he embellished it a bit. I have retyped his version here, edited just a bit for clarity.  He was young at the time, not the big hunk of 19 year old masculinity he is now… Nevertheless, he’s going to crawl into a cave and hibernate when he finds out his mom published this on her blog. Oohhhhhhh, the embarrassment of it all! Don’t anyone tell him about this, puleeeeeese!

    My Lovely Mom’s Pear Crisp

    6 cups sliced ripe pears (5 or 6 lbs)
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    A tiny bit of hard work
    ½ cup sugar
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    A whole bunch of JOY
    1/3 cup flour
    ½ cup packed brown sugar
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    3 tablespoons chilled butter
    2/3 cup old fashioned oats
    ½ cup chopped walnuts (if you must)
    A pinch of happiness

    Directions

    Look around you.  Take in your surroundings.  Be thankful. Feel wonderful about yourself and those around you. {Laugh at your son. He’s so FUNNY!} Read the recipe and do what it says.

    Preheat oven to 375º.

    Combine peeled and sliced pears with the lemon juice, toss gently to coat and then place in baking dish.

    In another bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Stir to combine.  Pour mixture over over pears and mix lightly.

    Do one thing, every day, that you have never done before.

    In the same bowl (because it’s empty now and who wants to wash another dish?) combine flour, brown sugar, another ½ teaspoon cinnamon and another ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.  Cut in 3 tablespoon cold butter or grate the butter into the flour mixture with a grater (that’s what my mom does) and combine until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs.  Stir in oats and optional nuts.  Sprinkle mixture evenly over pear mixture in the baking pan.

    Bake at 375º for 30-40 minutes or until pears are tender and topping is golden brown.  Cool at least 20 minutes before eating (hot pears in melted sugar burn).

    Smile. You’re all done.

    My son is home from college today.  I made this for our breakfast tomorrow.  He and I will enjoy some Pear Crisp and some lattes.  I’ll read the newspaper.  He’ll read something about American history…and then we will probably argue about something stupid.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, hope you enjoyed the Pear Crisp!

    13 Sep 2010 Drunken Pear Crisp with Cherries

    Everyone who tried this last night (last night refers to one night in the fall of 2009) loved it…, except for me.  I didn’t fall in love with it until about an hour ago, when I had a bite of the leftovers.  Soooo GOOD!  What was I thinking earlier?  I had to scrape the bottom of the serving dish to get a leftover helping for myself.

    This crisp is made with almost a full bottle of Zinfandel. I’ve served the crisp  with small scoops of homemade vanilla ice-cream, and with whipped cream.  I am going to have to make another batch to figure out which option I like better! Besides that, the picture above is horrible and I definitely need a new picture… (if you make this, can you send me a picture to use in place of this one?)

    I made one change to the “Pear Crisp with Dried Sour Cherries”  recipe from “The Top 150 American Recipes” cookbook (aside from renaming the recipe), I thought the filling needed a thickening agent, it did.  I’ve added it into the recipe below.

    Start this one day before you plan to serve it—the cherries need time to get drunk.  Kids probably won’t like this…. Let them eat the ice-cream!

    Drunken Pear Crisp with Cherries

    1 cup dried SOUR cherries (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)
    Approx ¾ bottle of Zinfandel
    5 cups thickly sliced pears (about 2 ½ lbs, 8 medium)
    1 T. tapioca or cornstarch
    ½ cup sugar (divided use)
    1 ¼ c. flour
    1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
    1 T. finely chopped toasted sliced almonds
    ¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
    1/8  t. ground nutmeg
    ¼ t. cinnamon
    8 T. (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled

    In a small saucepan over medium heat combine cherries with enough Zinfandel to cover by 2 inches.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove from heat and let cool.  Place cherries in the refrigerator and let soak overnight (or, at least 8 hours).  Drain the cherries, but reserve the wine.  In a large bowl combine the sliced pears, drained cherries,  ¼ cup white sugar, and cornstarch or tapioca.  Toss well.  Add ½ cup of the cherry-Zinfandel liquid and then let stand for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In another bowl combine flour, remaining ¼ c. sugar, 1/3 cup toasted almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Slowly drizzle in the melted butter.  Stir with a fork until mixture comes together in crumbles. (Do not over-mix and get a big ball of dough-break up any clumps bigger than one inch).  Spoon fruit mixture into a 2 qt. baking dish (8 x 8).  Evenly sprinkle crumbs on top of the fruit mixture. Sprinkle 1 T. finely chopped almonds over the crumbled topping. Bake until mixture is bubbling and topping is browned, about 50 minutes.  Serve hot or warm, with or without ice-cream or whipped cream. Guard the leftovers with your life!

    Inviting friends over this fall?  Serve this for dessert.  Trust me.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! 

    24 Jan 2010 Double Decker Pear Banana Bread
     |  Category: Breads, Breakfast & Brunch  | Tags: , ,  | Leave a Comment

    The bread is smiling! Did you ever think of mashing overripe pears, mixing them with mashed overripe bananas, and then stirring them into a spiced quick bread batter?  Me neither…until a Spiced Banana Pear Bread recipe popped up on Laura’s Best Recipes, originally posted on banana-bread.biz.  I took the posted recipe…, then thought I could make it better by adding the “double decker” layer from the pumpkin bread I posted last month.  Well…, easier said than done, but I finally did it!  I love the banana-pear taste, still banana, but milder.  The quality of the pears does affect the flavor of the bread.  The best loaf I made was with very overripe Royal Rivera pears, the least flavorful was made with canned pears. Now don’t go expecting a cheesecake experience from the cream cheese layer, it’s pleasant, but it’s main purpose is to keep the bread moist (and it’s fun to look at, too).  This bread needs to be refrigerated overnight (in a perfect world) before slicing, so plan ahead.

    Double Decker Pear Banana Bread

    For Batter
    1/2 cup softened butter
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    3/4 cup peeled, mashed overripe pears (canned pears can be used…if there are no more fresh pears left on the planet)
    3/4 cup peeled, mashed overripe banana
    1/4 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla) or sour cream
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. ginger
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    1/4 tsp. salt
    Optional, for decoration
    thinly sliced pear slices
    brown sugar

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan (spray with Pam, or spread with butter and flour…I like to add a double layer of parchment paper on the bottom, too).  With an electric mixture beat butter and white sugar together until creamy (about 3 minutes) then stir in brown sugar and beat for another 2 minutes or so. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well blended.  Add vanilla, pears, bananas, yogurt or sour cream and mix well. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.  Stir into batter and mix until just combined.  Pour 1/2 of batter into the bottom of pan.  Pour filling layer over,if desired.  Pour rest of batter over the filling layer.  If you have an extra pear, decorate top of loaf with very thin slices and sprinkle with 1 tsp brown sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Let loaf cool on rack.  Wrap cooled loaf tightly in plastic wrap and store overnight in refrigerator before slicing.

    For Filling (optional)

    4 oz. softened cream cheese
    3 T. sugar
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 egg
    3 T. minced crystallized ginger or 1 tsp. vanilla
    2 T. self-raising flour

    Soften cream cheese in MW.  Stir in sugar, sour cream, egg, and  minced crystallized ginger or vanilla. mix well. Stir in flour. Use as directed above.

    Thanks for being a fan,

    Polly

    22 Jan 2010 Pear Berry Pie
     |  Category: Fruits, Pies & Tarts  | Tags: ,  | 2 Comments


    I love pie…, but I am not very good at making the baked-in-the-oven kind. The crust causes me the most trouble. Something always seems to go wrong. I under-cook the bottom crust on a regular basis. When my food processor died a few years back I started using the red box of Pillsbury rolled pie crusts. I have a new food processor now, but I haven’t gone back to making my own crust yet. It’s the filling that makes a pie for me, mmmmmm… warm, sweet, dreamy, fruity pie filling… Is there any better dessert for the cold winter months? Fortunately, I have a lot of recipes for GREAT pies that focus on fabulous fillings. This is one of my favorites. Make it quick while pears are still in season! If you have a great pie crust recipe, use it. If not, unroll some of those Pillsbury pie crusts and master the pie filling, which is the best part of the pie anyway…

    Pear Berry Pie

    Single pie crust, baked in a 9 inch pie pan and cooled

    For Filling
    3 lbs. firm but ripe pears (I use a variety-usually 2 each of 3 varieties)
    1/2 cup sugar (divided use)
    2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (have used lemon before, too…just up the sugar by a tablespoonful or so)
    1/4 tsp. salt
    2 cups fresh blueberries or raspberries or combination (can use frozen, but fresh results in a less mushy product)
    1/3 cup plus 1 T. flour

    Peel, core and chop pears into 3/4 inch chunks. Combine pear chunks, orange juice salt, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large frying pan. Saute until pears are tender, stirring often, about 6 minutes. Transfer pears to a large bowl and let cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the pie crust and the pears are cooling, prepare the streusel. Stir berries, flour, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar into pear mixture. Toss to blend. Pour filing into cooled crust and then sprinkle with streusel topping. Press down slightly. Place pie in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for an hour. If streusel gets too brown, cover lightly with foil. Cool pie on rack until lukewarm. Cut into wedges and serve, which I like to do with a blog of freshly whipped cream. Serves 8.

    For Streusel
    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup brown sugar (dark is best)
    1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
    1/2 cup cold butter
    1/4 tsp salt

    Put all ingredients into a food processor and using on/off turns process until coarse crumbs form. Alternately, using a pastry blender (or fingers) work cold butter (grated or cut into small chunks) into flour, salt and brown sugar. Stir in chopped nuts. OR, melt the butter, pour over flour, sugar, salt and chopped nuts. Stir with fork until large crumbs form. (texture is a bit different on finished pie, but I enjoy it)

    Original recipe is from epicurious.com

    Thanks for stopping by the kitchen today!

    Polly