Pears, in many ways


jeffreyw, Wikimedia Commons.

Bake a pie with just pears, or add some sliced apples to the filling. Either way, it’s a welcome treat.

Many of us grew up with some fruit trees in our yards. My grandparents had prune (plums grown for prunes) and apricot orchards, plus walnuts, but they also had a few other fruit trees, including Bartlett pears.


I am not sure how they kept birds and other animals from eating all the fruit before we got any, but they somehow managed. The pear trees were prolific, so maybe we just shared with the wildlife.


This is the time of year when my mom sends out fancy boxes of fresh pears, ordered from a catalog. Last year, I ended up with two boxes, as one of my sons ordered some for me, too. Just in case that happens again, I started digging around in my collection for pear recipes.


I hope you find something you will consider trying out.


Pear pie


I always toss in some sliced apples for an extra treat.

8 cups thinly sliced peeled and cored pears


3/4 cup sugar


1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca


1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Pastry for 9-inch double-crust pie


1 egg, lightly beaten


1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, optional


1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine pear slices, sugar, tapioca and nutmeg; let stand for 15 minutes.


2. Line a pie plate with bottom crust; add pear mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie with a little overhang.


3. Place top crust over filling; seal and flute edges. Cut large slits in top and brush with beaten egg.


4. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until pears are tender. Remove and place on wire rack and pour cream through the slits in the top crust, if desired. Makes 8 servings.


Pecan pear muffins


3 cups flour


2 cups sugar


2 teaspoons baking soda


1 teaspoon cinnamon


1/2 teaspoon salt


2 eggs


1 cup canola or vegetable oil


1 teaspoon vanilla


4 cups chopped peeled ripe pears (about 6 medium)


1 cup chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, combine eggs, oil and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in the pears and pecans.


2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Makes about 2 dozen.


Italian pear cake


1 1/2 cups flour


1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch


1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder


1/4 teaspoon baking soda


1/4 teaspoon salt


3/4 cup sugar


3 large eggs (room temperature)


1 cup mascarpone (room temperature)


2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil


2 pears, ripe but firm, at room temperature


1. Preheat oven to 340. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan (can use springform pan).


2. Peel and core the pears, then chop one pear into medium-sized cubes and the other pear thin slices, set aside.


3. In a medium bowl, at medium speed, beat eggs and sugar until creamy, add mascarpone and continue beating until smooth.


4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Add oil and mix well.


5. Fold in the medium-sized cubed pear, spoon into prepared cake pan.6. Top with sliced pears and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 8 servings.


Cranberry pear salad


For dressing:1 cup peeled and cored fresh pear, diced


1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (or your favorite)


2 teaspoons Dijon mustard


2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


2 teaspoons pure maple syrup


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Salt and pepper, to taste


For salad:


2 hearts of Romain, cleaned and chopped


1 large ripe Bartlett pear, cored and sliced into 1-inch pieces


1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


1/3 cup dried cranberries


1/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds, toasted


1. For dressing: Place the pear chunks, vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and maple syrup in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed chute until emulsified. Add the salt and pepper to taste and mix once more.


2. For salad: Place the romaine, sliced pear, dried cranberries, feta cheese and toasted almonds in a salad bowl. Add the desired amount of dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

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