We never expected to have so many pears this year. Last year we were lucky to get just a few. I heard from a farmer at the open air market just the other day, that it was a good year for pears. I have no idea why, but I had more pears than I could possibly handle as a novice pear grower. Unfortunately a lot of them went into the compost heap, but just as many or more were given away and eaten. The fruit isn't particularly attractive when it's home grown. These are Comice pears, the same variety that you would find in gift baskets from Harry & David. They say they use Comice pears because they are one of the most attractive, flavorful and well textured variety of pears. (Comice is pronounced kuh-mees).
I generally would never peel a pear to eat it, but the home grown ones are not that attractive. They have too many blemishes for me, so I peeled them. The flesh however, is fantastically sweet, crisp and delicious! I like my pears a little on the crispy side, too, so these were just the way I like them.
Like I said, I'd never had to deal with so many of them before, so I couldn't get them all processed before some of them went bad. I didn't weigh them, but a guess is that I had 20+ pounds of pears when all was said and done. And of course, my kitchen was full of fruit flies. I tried everything to get rid of them, but I think that's impossible at this time of year. I covered the bowls containing the pears with towels so the flies couldn't get in, but whenever I reached inside, a few flew out. I used my small vacuum cleaner and sucked up a bunch of the little devils. I used the fly swatter, which is totally useless because it has little holes in it which seem to always save the little buggers. I snuck up on each one of them with my bottle of Windex in one hand and a paper towel in the other. A tiny little squirt and they either got away (unbelievable!!!) or I got a direct hit and wiped them up with my paper towel. My kitchen windows and cupboards were shiny clean with the constant onslaught of Windex. (I was careful not to spray on food or utensils). I even hung up one of those sticky fly catcher things. They don't go near it. I finally put out a small dish of white wine. Overnight, they bellied up to the bar a fell into the little bowl in a drunken stupor! Tons of them gone in a blaze of alcoholic bliss, but alas, they were not gone for good. I'm still dealing with them.
I digress - this blog is not about how to get rid of fruit flies.
Ever hear of Bananas Foster. This is my version of Pears Foster - with no liqueur in it. Of course you could add the liqueur if you like at the end. Coring a pear can be a lot easier if you use a little melon baller to get rid of the middle. Cut the pear in half from top to bottom, and use the melon baller to remove the middle.
3 pears- not too ripe, peeled and sliced
2 T butter
1 T lemon juice
1 t cinnamon
1-2 T brown sugar
1 t coconut or vanilla extract
1 t almond extract (optional)
1/4 c. shredded coconut (optional)
1 shot of Cream De Cacao (optional)
Saute the pears in the lemon juice and butter until they are slightly softened, or as soft as you like. I like mine with a little bite left. When the pears are done to your liking, add the brown sugar and the cinnamon and cook until it gets slightly thickened. Then add the extracts and the coconut. Put in the liqueur if you're using it an let it cook out for minute or so. You could even ignite it for show if you like! It's done! Serve with chopped pecans or walnuts sprinkled on top or put some warm pears on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If there are any leftovers it's yummy cold right out the refrigerator
I also made some diced pears sauteed in a little butter with just the cinnamon, lemon and sugar (just a couple of tablespoons of the sugar in a whole pot full of pears). We ate it cold with some chopped pecans on it. Try it with a little vanilla yogurt drizzled on top.
A lot of the pears got peeled, cored and sliced, coated with Fruit Fresh (which is just citric acid to keep them from turning brown or just use lemon juice, but this makes them a little wet for freezing), and I froze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet to keep them from freezing into a giant lump. Then I just put them in bags and back in the freezer. I'll use these to make more of the Pears Foster, and I think I'll even make a Pear Pie. They taste remarkably the same as apples when you add the cinnamon so I think they will make a lovely pie or tart.
Hmmm, maybe some pear jam with rosemary or lavender!