Pear season is now in full swing. So it’s perfect time to rediscover the flavour and versatility of this often overlook traditional favourite.
So whether you’re a committed fan of old favourite Packhams or a convert to the newer choices like Corella and Red DAnjou, there is sure to be a variety to please everyone in the family.
Whatever your preference of variety, it is hard to improve on the flavour of a soft, juicy fresh pear as a perfect snack or lightly poached to add to your morning cereal or porridge.
But pears also add incredible flavour and flair to sweet and savoury dishes alike. They are a perfect choice to allow your creativity to roam as you create your winter menus.
On a savoury note, try baking pear halves with your roasted veggies and serving with a warming roast pork or lamb.
Simply cut in large chunks, or be more elegant and halve, remove the core and stuff with a filling of herbs and nuts.
Soups will take on a special sweetness with the addition of a pear – Pumpkin and Pear is devine!
If you’re a salad lover all year round, grate a firm-fleshed pear into your coleslaw or add slices to a green salad of rocket with a sprinkle of walnuts and a crumble of feta or blue cheese!
Pear inspired dessert is limitless!
Team with chocolate or nuts or the tang of fresh lemon for truly memorable and elegant creations.
Add them to bread and butter pudding for a fruity variation or the get out the pastry for a Nana’s Pear Pie or strudel, or home baked Pear Danish. Muffins and cakes take on a wonderful moist texture with the addition of pears.
When selecting pears the challenge is knowing just how ripe they are.
Pears are picked when fully developed but still firm and continue to ripen off the tree. They become soft and fragile when ripe, so green grocers prefer consumers to buy them while they’re still hard and then ripen them at home for a few days at room temperature.
For those who love a crisp pear, the Packham is the pick of the bunch. It is green-skinned and remains so, even when ripe. It has a white, juicy flesh, which is ideal for both eating fresh and cooking.
The Buerre Bosc has a brown-coloured skin which ripens to a deep cinnamon colour. The flesh is sweet, buttery and delectable. It is worth savouring on its own and is just as delicious in elegant pear dessert recipes. And who thought all pears were green?!
Western Australian pears are exceptional in quality right now so be sure to indulge in the fruits of the season whether fresh from the hand or cooked. Explore some delicious recipe ideas on https://australianpears.com.au/
Here are some lovely recipes to inspire those tastebuds…
Pear and Pumpkin Risotto
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
- 600 g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
- 1 tspn olive oil
- 50 g butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 5 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
- ¾ cup grated parmesan
- 2 Buerre Bosc pears, chopped
- Chopped chives, to garnish
- Heat the oven to 200°C.
- Toss the pumpkin in the olive oil and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
- In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over a gentle heat.
- Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft and golden.
- Add the rice, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
- Add ½ cup of the hot stock to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Repeat the process until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is creamy and tender.
- Gently fold in the parmesan, cooked pumpkin and chopped pears. Scatter with chives and serve immediately. Ideal accompanied with a green salad.
Pear and cinnamon clafoutis
Clafoutis is a classic French pudding, great with cherries, berries and peaches.
Preparation: 20 mins
Cooking: 25 mins
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup reduced-fat milk
- 400g poached pears
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons icing sugar mixture
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 1 litre capacity ovenproof dish.
- Combine sugar and flour in a bowl.
- Whisk together eggs and milk.
- Pour egg mixture into flour mixture. Whisk until smooth.
- Place pears in ovenproof dish.
- Spoon custard over pears.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until custard is set.
- Stand for 5 minutes.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Panna Cotta with Citrus Poached Pear
Preparation: 15 minutes, plus chilling
Cooking: 20 minutes
- 900 ml cream
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 2 tspn vanilla extract
- 2 tspn powdered gelatine, dissolved in 2 tblspn cold water
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 Josephine pears, peeled, quartered and cored
- Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and gently heat while stirring, until the sugar dissolves and liquid begins to bubble.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Dissolve gelatine in cold water for 2 minutes.
- Add to the warm cream and stir until it is completely dissolved.
- Pour into 6 x 150 ml ramekins or moulds.
- Place in the fridge for 4 – 5 hours or until set.
- For the pears, heat the sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan.
- Slide in the pear quarters and gently poach over a medium heat until just tender.
- Place pears and cooking syrup in a bowl and refrigerate until cool.
- Turn out the panna cottas and serve with pears.