Pear

Pear

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

The sweet, juicy pear is one of the most versatile of fruits. It may be enjoyed as is or cooked, and it blends as well with wines and liqueurs as it does with other fruits such as raspberries and blackcurrants.

The first pears usually arrive on the market towards the end of summer. A succession of varieties and controlled atmosphere storage allows us to have fresh pears almost all year. Tinned pears can also substitute for fresh poached pears in most recipes.

The main varieties of pear available are the Williams (also known as Duchess, Bartlett, Bon Chrétien), the Winter Cole, Beurré Bosc and the Packham. The Williams is an early season variety, yellow tinged with pale green, and is usually very juicy; it is delicious eaten with Gorgonzola cheese, or freshly sliced and covered with passionfruit pulp. The Winter Cole is a small pear, rather round in shape and greenish, turning to russet; it is characteristically pale yellow when ripe. The Beurré Bosc is elongated, with a russet skin changing to dark cinnamon when mature; the flesh is white and juicy. The Packham, similar in appearance to the Williams, is greenish-yellow turning to light yellow when ripe, its flesh being white and juicy when ripe. The Packham is good for poaching or in a tart.

In France, an eau de vie (fruit alcohol) is made from pears; a judicious dose may be added to a simple pear dessert for variety.

To poach pears: Choose pears which are still underripe, but not too hard. Peel gently with vegetable peeler, rub with lemon juice to prevent browning. Halve lengthways, remove cores with a melon baller or small knife.

Poach in syrup of 1 part sugar to 2 parts water until just tender. A piece of vanilla bean may be added to syrup. Remove fruit with slotted spoon and reduce syrup, then pour over fruit.

Poached pears may be served simply with cream or custard, or with a blackcurrant or raspberry purée.

Ingredients

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