Seasonal Pears: Bite Right In Or Make Them Into Sweet and Savory Fall Treats
Pears are a wonderful seasonal fruit. You can find a surprising variety of pears in the farmers markets right now, including Bartlett, D’Anjou, Bosc, Sekel and Comice (pictured above).
According to the Pear Bureau Northwest, people have been growing and eating pears since 5000 BC. Pears taste delicious, and they are able to be stored for quite a long time. So they have been a wonderful commodity for trade and commerce for thousands of years and up until today.
You can eat pears in so many different ways. I love biting through the pear skin and into the soft, sweet fruit inside, especially when the juice dips down to my elbow. I also love the fact that they are equally good in sweet and savory dishes, as well as raw or cooked. I confess, I don’t even mind canned pears. They remind me of school lunches as a kid, in a good way.
You can cut up a pear into a fresh arugula salad with crumbled goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette, and maybe some freshly roasted beets. You can place pear slices on top of a wheel of brie drizzled with honey and pop it all in the oven for 20 minutes to make a lovely fall appetizer.
One of the easiest desserts I make is a simple pear tart. I pick up some puff pastry and roll it out onto a pizza stone. Slice up 5 or 6 pears (unpeeled, providing the skin is not too tough) and mix them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of honey, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. I may add a 1/4 tablespoon of vanilla extract too. Mix it all together and place the pears in the center of the puff pastry. Pinch up the edges of the puff pastry to form a rustic tart so that the juices do not flow out of the pastry. Brush the top of the pastry crust with whole milk. Cook it for about 25 minutes at 400º F, or according to the directions on the puff pastry package. When the crust is golden brown, I pull it out and serve it warm. It is the perfect dessert for a chilly fall evening.
Head out to your farmers market this weekend and pick up enough pears to eat right away and then prepare for a delicious seasonal lunch or dinner. And now I really need to make a pear tart. I’ll keep you posted!
~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City
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