Pears


How did it get to be OCTOBER?  Yes, I know, it follows September but it seems like we just started August!  Whew!

But October is good.  Cooler temps in the Southern US.  Soup time is around the corner.  Lots of different veggies from the fall/winter garden.  And a new cookbook for Cookbook Countdown!

In early 2003 my beautiful daughter traveled to Colorado.  She brought back some souvenirs – one of which was book

and while I wandered through it and marked recipes I never really got around to using it.  Thanks to Cookbook Countdown I am about to remedy that situation.  Starting with a dessert!  Eat dessert first, right?

Pear Crisp.JPG

Creamy Pear Pie Crunch

This was delicious.  Not a pie exactly because it doesn’t have a bottom crust but not a crisp either – according to Ela of Ela’s Family Farm.

I chose this recipe because of the pear trees in the backyard.  I made this right before the season for picking ended so I could use fresh pears but it would be just as good with our canned pears.

Filling:

3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. corn starch
1/4  1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cream
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 1/2 cups pears, cored and sliced

Crust:

1/2 cup butter – melted
1 – 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour {I used 1/2 AP and 1/2 WWF}
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Mix together the sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt a bowl. Add cream, lemon juice and pears, mixing well. Pour into greased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Mix crust ingredients together and sprinkle over pear mixture.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

The recipe is on page 182 of Colorado Farmers’ Market Cookbook.

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

In our back yard there are 4 pear trees. Two with pears just to eat and two for canning. I think the eating pears are better fresh for pies and such because they aren’t quite as hard as the canning pears. I use them fresh as long as I can.

Someone once said if you want to make a great apple pie – use pears. I agree. More texture, often better flavor. I found this recipe for AB‘s Pear pie in Good Eats: The Early Years – the cookbook I am using for September’s Cookbook Countdown.

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What AB made was a galette – a no-pan pie. Perfect!  I always have trouble making the pie look nice by messing up the crust on the way to the pan.  No-pan means it is free form with the crust wrapped up around the filling.  So. Much. Easier!

This one is filled with pears, blueberries and lots of flavor.  The  flavor is enhanced by adding Balsamic vinegar to the mix.  So. Much Flavor!

For the dough:
2 1/2 cups {12 ounces} flour
1/2 cup {2 1/4 ounces} stone ground cornmeal
3 tablespoons {1 1/2 ounces} sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided, diced
1/2 cup apple juice

For the filling:
2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced {Mine aren’t Anjou!}
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar {2 ounces} {I used Splenda}
1 pinch grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon {I used about 1 tsp}
2 tablespoons {1 ounce} butter
1 cup {6 ounces} blueberries
1 teaspoon AP flour
1 1/2 cups pound cake, cubed {I used plain yellow cake}
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon sugar {I used Turbinado}

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • DOUGH: In a food processor, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine. Place dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and put the bowl into the refrigerator.
  • Remove 1/2 stick of butter from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
  • In a food processor, add the 1/2 stick of butter to the flour mixture. Pulse until the fat completely disappears. Add the remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter in separate batches. Pulse until flour mixture resembles the size of a pea.
  • Combine the apple juice concentrate and the cold water. Using a spray bottle, spritz the dough with the apple juice mixture while folding the mixture with a spatula. After about three tablespoons of the liquid, check the dough for consistency. It should hold together when compressed but remain relatively dry to the touch. If it does not bind, add a little more water.
  • Remove from the processor and form the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in wax paper or parchment paper and rest in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • FILLING:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add pears to the pan and toss for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to toss for 30 seconds. Add sugar and cook until the pears have softened. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, and the butter and melt slowly. Fold in the blueberries. Remove from heat. Sprinkle on the flour and combine well. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • CONSTRUCTION:  Place dough on a floured piece of parchment and roll out to a 1/4-inch thick disk. Transfer to a baking sheet. Place cubed pound cake in the middle of the dough, leaving a 3-inch margin of crust on all sides. Spoon filling over the cake cubes and top the pears with 1 ounce of cubed butter. Lift excess crust onto filling and repeat in a clockwise fashion until a top lip has formed around the edge of the whole tart. Brush the tart with the egg wash and sprinkle the crust with the sugar.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the filling begins to bubble and the crust is golden brown.
  • Remove from the sheet pan immediately and cool on pie rack.

This was so good.  I wish I had a picture of the whole pie but I guess it disappeared with the pie! Definitely a repeat – often.  Oh!  And it was good warm from the oven with cinnamon ice cream!

The recipe is from AB’s Good Eats: The Early Years page 100.

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

This weeks’ theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs was Fresh and Fruity.  Which is a great theme for this time of the year.  So many fresh fruits and veggies everywhere.  But here in the south while we have plenty of veggies coming in we don’t really have any fruits.  Watermelon is about all.  Fortunately for me I have some ‘fresh’ fruit that I canned last year so I used that.

For these….

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apple and pear upside-down caramel tarts

They are mini versions of a tarte Tatin and they are easy to put together.  And delicious.

Caramel sauce:
    1 ½ cups sugar
    4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 cup whipping cream

Tarts:

    2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ½-inch–thick wedges
    2 Anjou pears, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
    1 frozen puff pastry sheet (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • To make the caramel sauce: Stir the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a medium heavy saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a simmer, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar that clings to the side.
  • The sugar that clings to the side of the pan has a tendency to crystallize and ruin the silky consistency of the caramel, so wiping the sugar off the sides of the pan will help prevent this from happening.
  • Allow the sugar syrup to boil without stirring, brushing down the sides of the pan and swirling the pan occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly, for about 8 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown.
  • You will need to watch the syrup closely as it can burn quite easily.
  • Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add the butter and whisk until the butter melts and the mixture forms a caramel sauce. Stir in the cinnamon.
  • Pour three-fourths of the caramel sauce into four 4-inch-diameter cake pans with at least 1 3/4-inch-high sides, dividing equally.
  • Allow the caramel in pans to cool.
  • Whisk the cream into the remaining caramel sauce to blend and set the caramel sauce aside.
  • To make the tarts: Arrange a layer of the apples and pears decoratively over the caramel in the pans, then stack the remaining apples and pears to fill the pans completely. Unfold the pastry on a work surface and press the seams together if necessary.
  • Cut out four 4-inch rounds.
  • Place the pastry rounds over the apples and pears and tuck the pastry down between the sides of the pans.
  • Prick the pastry 5 to 6 times with a fork or small sharp knife.
  • Cover the tarts with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day to chill the pastry.
  • Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  • Transfer the tarts to a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through and the apples are very tender.
  • Let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the juices to cool and thicken slightly.
  • Place a plate over each tart.
  • In a swift movement, invert each tart onto each plate.
  • Remove the pans.
  • Drizzle some of the reserved caramel sauce around the tarts and serve.
  • Reserve any remaining caramel sauce in the refrigerator for another use.
  • These are definitely going into the dessert rotation. I always have puff pastry in the freezer and always have apples and pears on the counter (or in the pantary) so it would be no trouble to put these together – often.

    These are from relaxed cooking with curtis stone (page 358)

    Check wit the other members of I Heart Cooking Club to see what they made with fruit this week.

    Gaye’s choice for this week was DESSERT!  We haven’t made dessert with Ellie in a while and that’s a shame because her’s are tasty AND healthy!!

    I chose to make the Rustic Pear Tart.   Mainly because it’s easy but also because The Man does love pears. 

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    This tart is super easy because you make the whole wheat crust and just fill it and fold it up around the pears.  No pie plate.  No trimming.  No patching.

    Ellie suggested 3 medium pears but I had some canned pears from the orchard and chose to use those instead.  I had canned them with very little sugar but I cut down on the brown sugar from 3 Tbl to 2 Tbl just in case.  I had also canned some pears with cinnamon but figured I would use the plain instead.  The filling also has cinnamon, cornstarch, brown sugar and lemon juice. I forgot the lemon juice, but….ah, well!!  The tart is brushed with a mix of honey and water after baking to give it a nice sweet taste.

    The recipe is from Ellie’s Comfort Food Fix  {page 284} but you can also find it HERE!

    Check out more desserts on Divine Desserts at Eating with Ellie.

    Phyllo Dough is NOT my friend.  Really NOT my friend! It’s not the phyllo’s fault.  I just have had trouble working with it.  I think it’s because my phyllo had been in my freezer too long.  Some of it was dried out, some of it was doughy.  I think I just need to work with some fresh phyllo.  That being said I won’t hesitate to use it whenever it makes a good dessert better.  Flakier.  Lighter.  Like these turnovers from Ellie.

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    Apples, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg.  All cooked together.  Making my house smell sooooo good.  And so were the turnovers.

    The only change I made was to use some pears I canned this summer instead of the apples. The Man does love pears and since I was making these for him….. Served warm with some vanilla ice cream, YES PLEASE!!

    And… AND… only 200 calories each!!

    The recipe is on page 294 of Ellie’s The Food You Crave and I found it on the FoodNetwork as well.

    FIRST I want to thank Peggy for her pick this week. I needed a quick and tasty dessert and this one was just perfect. SECOND – thanks to Donna Hay for the quick sweet treat. SHE is the reason I keep puff pastry in the freezer. It is good for just about anything from desserts to pot pies to savory tidbits.

    This is pear season and ours are just beginning to ripen. I picked one, just one, and it was plenty for three galettes.

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    I made mine with apple.

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    This is super simple to make. Cut your puff pastry into squares. Sprinkle on some ground almonds. Layer some thin pear slices. Brush the whole thing with melted butter and then just bake at 350 until the pastry turns golden brown. No measurements. Put as much or as little of the pears and almonds as you like. This dessert is all about YOU!!

    The ‘recipe’, if you want to call it that, is on page 160 of Donna’s off the shelf. I bet the other members of Wednesdays with Donna Hay liked this one, too.

    Third Monday in May.

    The end result – meeting a new foodie and cooking something or things from their collection of good things. I have found over the years that cooking just one thing is not a good way to learn about what makes a person tick. Or in the case of my ‘assignment’ this month – people. This month I was matched with Feast on the Cheap which is run by Mother and Daughter Duo Mary Ann and Mariel. Mary Ann is caterer and Mariel is writer with extraordinary culinary skills learned at her mother’s side. Between the two of them there is an awesome collection of great recipes.Not only that – the cost of every recipe is laid out for you with the ingredients. Thus the name “FEAST ON THE CHEAP”!! It was great to see how much each dish would cost.

    I usually make three different treats. Usually a side and an entree and maybe a sweet treat. But it seems everything I went looking for something I was in need of something sweet. So here are two desserts – unusual for me – and a nice little quinoa dish.

    I had a quart jar of pears in the pantry. We have a couple of trees so I put up pears every year. Finding this…

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    was perfect. It is easy to make and yummy with the Maple Brown Butter Syrup and Pecans on top. Merial called for walnuts but we aren’t big fans and I always have lots of pecans in the freezer. Another change I made – I subbed out 1/2 of the AP flour for Whole Wheat. This is a grown up {what we used to call} Poke Cake. After the cake is cooked and cooled a bit holes are poked all over which lets the lovely syrup soak into the cake. Oh, Yeah!! Since I used my canned pears I skipped the “boil the pears, cinnamon, and water” part and just heated the pears and their juice with the cinnamon (and a little extra). Make this cake!!

      *************************

    The next time I wandered through the site I found another sweet treat and since I was completely out of cake I deemed it absolutely necessary to make another. This time…

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    Our garden yielded a lot of butternut last year. We could not eat all of them or give all of them away. There is just so much butternut one can eat. So I had cooked up quite a few, scooped out the good part, and froze packages of butternut squash. Lucky me to have found this cake, also from Merial.

    This is supposed to be a quick bread but I changed it up just a tad and made ‘brownies’ with them. I poured the batter into a 11″ x 7″ pan and baked them for about 24 minutes. Merial made a Ginger Apple Butter for her bread but I chose not to use a ‘frosting’. But I did use some Sweet Potato Butter on some and they were wonderful!! Slicing these was a cinch since I had Mom’s special brownie pan (she loved gadgets like I do)

    P1060546 PRESTO!! 18 perfect snacks!!

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    Okay, I just couldn’t make another sweet treat. I HAD to go along another path.
    For Lunch:

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    Quinoa Salad with Sweet Bell Peppers, Dried Cranberries and Turkey Bacon

      1 cup organic quinoa
      2 cups water or chicken/vegetable stock
      ½ Teaspoon salt
      1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
      1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
      ¾ cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped –
      ¾ cup dried cranberries
      4 scallions (green onions), white and green parts thinly sliced
      5 ozs. Montrachet or plain goat cheese (NOT Feta)
      ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
      1/2 lb. bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled

      For the dressing:
      ¼ cup cider vinegar
      1 Teaspoon Turmeric or dry mustard
      1 Teaspoon Cumin
      3 Teaspoons honey
      ¾ cup olive oil
      salt and pepper

    If not using organic quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh strainer under cold, running water.

    In a 1½ quart lidded saucepan, combine the quinoa, salt, and water or stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff the grain with a fork and set aside. Allow to cool to about room temperature.

    In the mean time, prepare the remaining ingredients and dressing. Set the dressing aside.

    Toss the peppers, cheese, nuts, cranberries, cucumber, onions, cilantro, and crumbled bacon with the quinoa. Season the Pilaf with salt and pepper. Add the dressing if serving all at once, combining well.

    This was definitely a hit with me. The sweet cranberries and pecans mixed with the sweet pepper and green onions was a nice contrast. The tangy sweet dressing brought it all together. I made 1/2 of the recipe and it was plenty for two light lunches (with cake!). And so colorful which means lots of good things in the dish that are good for you.

    So many recipes, so little time. I did make the Whole Wheat Parmesan Drop Biscuits. I couldn’t pass those up. Now I want to go back and try

    And that’s just my short list.

    Visit with Mary Ann and Merial – you WON”T be sorry!!

    And visit the rest of the Secret Recipe Club Members and see what they cooked/baked this month.

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