Rediscover pears while the Western Australian season is in full swing

Panna cotta with poached pear

Pear season is now in full swing. So, whether you like the Josephine or Packham, there is sure to be a variety to please everyone in the family. 

When selecting pears, the challenge is judging 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 retailers 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?

It is hard to improve on the flavour of a soft, juicy pear, but when teamed with blue cheese or prosciutto, you’ll have something truly divine. You can also bake, pan-fry or poach pears, use them in tarts or salads – both sweet and savoury. Now how versatile is that?

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. Here are some lovely winter recipes to start your own creativity to rediscover the joy of pears. 

Brought to you by Fresh Finesse Fresh Food Promotions – www.freshf.com.au

Upside down pear pudding with vanilla custard

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 Beurre Bosc pears peeled, halved and cored
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tablespoon soft brown sugar
  • 175 g soft unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup self-raising flour sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder sifted
  • 3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • Vanilla custard to serve

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
  • Put the caster sugar and water into a saucepan and gently cook until the sugar dissolves. Add the pear halves to the pan. Gently cook the pears for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from the syrup using a slotted spoon and cool. Throw away the syrup.
  • Sprinkle the cake tin with the brown sugar and arrange the pears cut side down over the sugar.
  • In a large bowl cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, along with 1 tablespoon of flour, beating well between each addition. Fold through the remaining flour, baking powder, cinnamon and almonds.
  • Spoon over the pears and smooth the surface. Bake in the oven for 50 – 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the pudding comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and carefully turn out onto a serving plate. Cut into slices and serve with vanilla custard.

Vanilla panna cotta with poached pear

Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Chilling time5 hrs
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 900 ml cream
  • cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon powdered gelatine dissolved in 2 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 4 Josephine pears peeled, quartered and cored

Instructions

  • 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 six 150ml ramekins or moulds. Place in the fridge for four – five 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.