A Trio of Pear Dishes –
My in-laws live in a town outside of Boston. Believe it or not, they have been in the same house for 40 years! In their side yard, they have a single pear tree. Most years it produces an abundance of pears and this year was no exception. Jake’s dad knows that we like to cook and decided to bring us a bag full of those delicious pears.
These pears were so juicy and sweet; they made for the perfect afternoon snack. If it’s at all possible, they were almost too juicy. I needed to lay out at least three napkins at my desk at work – still a small price to pay for the ripe goodness.
After about a week, it was time to figure out what to do with the rest of the pears. We weren’t going to finish them all just by eating them as snacks. This was the perfect opportunity to find some new pear recipes and go to town. I had a mini cooking day to myself and whipped up three dishes:
I mentioned in The Fu Behind the Fu’d page that I get almost all of my recipe inspiration from Pinterest, so I linked each to the recipe I used. Because I also made multiple dishes on this occasion, I won’t provide step-by-step instructions on what I did. (It should all be in the recipes.) I will add a little commentary on my experiences making each dish and a judgment on the final products.
Raspberry Pear Pecan Bread
I originally chose this recipe because I had just bought my very first KitchenAid stand mixer and wanted to make bread. I don’t have a lot of experience making bread. From what I gather now, this was much less of a traditional bread recipe and much more like a banana bread recipe. I probably didn’t need my stand mixer at all. Oh well!
This bread was good. I loved the tangy and tart flavor that the raspberry left throughout each bite. I also went light on the brown sugar, so it wasn’t overly sweet. The recipe called for grating the pears. Because of how juicy the pears were, there was a lot of liquid, which I think caused the bread to fall apart a bit. I think counteracting it with more flour may have helped. The pear flavor was also barely there. For a sensitive palate, it might be the perfect hint, but I was craving more. We enjoyed the bread for a few days and ate most of it. But because I used fresh fruit, it was best to toss the rest after that. Regardless, this would make a beautiful gift during the holidays or to bring to a lunch/dinner party.
Creamy Sweet Potato and Pear Soup
I enjoyed this soup. I was surprised that Jake liked it, too. He is usually much more of a hearty stew type person, but he thought this had a unique flavor. I followed the recipe closely. Although, I did mistakenly sprinkle thyme leaves throughout the soup, which left a small chunk every few slurps. I should have left the thyme sprigs whole to flavor the soup and then removed them.
I don’t frequently use my immersion blender, so I get excited at any opportunity. The photo below reveals how infrequently I use it because I still have the label on it! It worked like a charm and left the soup with a great consistency.
I gave half the batch to my in-laws, but I wish had doubled the recipe and saved even more for ourselves! This soup seems like it would freeze very well, since you don’t have to worry about any chunks of vegetables or starches getting too soggy when re-heating.
The vinaigrette was a bit of trial and error. In general, I love homemade dressings that have olive oil, fresh garlic, and lemon. I was able to use the extra juices when grating the pears for the bread recipe. However, again, the pear flavor was almost non-existent and I decided to scrounge up some extra grated pear to throw in.
I used it a few times as a salad dressing and as a slaw dressing. I still have not figured out the best way to store something like this. I feel that the pear needs to be refrigerated, but after a couple of days, the olive oil begins to solidify at the top. This means that when I want to use the dressing, I need to let it sit out for a bit and then shake it up. I will be sure to report back if I ever figure out the right technique or perhaps you can help me out and let me know how you make it work!
Pears seem to be a great alternative to other fruits. They have a much more subtle flavor. I think that it can complement savory dishes well, but could be too mild for sweeter dishes. Overall, another successful mini cooking adventure with some lessons learned!