Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Purposeful pears

We have an abundance of pears at the moment. That means that I am up for preparing pear-inspired dishes. What a luxury the two pear trees are. Their sun-ripened fruit tastes like the warmest late summers day.

Between weeding vegetable beds and refreshing the Mediterranean fruit fly bait stations in the orchard and quince hedge, I still had to find ways of introducing the pears into our meals. One can see their sweetness in the colour of their skins. When they become a soft yellow with rosy cheeks they can seduce you with their sun-ripened sweetness.

The pear originated in China and greater Asia. It is well documented in writings dating back to the 6th century. Source:  https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/pearinhistory.pdf  On planning the garden, it was a given that I had to include two pear trees, for cross pollination purposes, in the orchard.

I found a recipe for a pear cobbler which I decided to try. Making the recipe was not enough. I needed to know why it was called a cobbler. What I found is that the word was recorded in 1859 and may be related to the archaic word cobeler, meaning “wooden bowl”
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobbler_(food) That did not really make sense to me because the cobbler would have been prepared on an open fire by early settlers to America.

Fresh pear and almond cobbler
I decided nonetheless, to make a pear and almond cobbler.

Pear and almond cobbler

4 large pears (sliced fresh) mixed with 1/2 cup sugar
115 grams butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
5 ml almond essence

Pre-heat the oven to 165 C.
Mix the pears with 1/2 cup sugar and let stand.
Put butter in a baking dish and let it melt in the oven.
Mix the dry ingredients.
Whisk together the milk, egg and almond essence, in a mixing bowl.
Mix slowly with dry ingredients to make a batter. Pour over melted butter. Do not stir.
Place pears over the batter. Do not stir.
Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until nicely browned and pears are tender.

Fresh pear and smoked chicken salad
With Sunday dessert baking away, I looked at the bowl of pears and decided to make a smoked chicken and pear salad with rocket, red pepper, young red onions and coriander all, excluding the chicken, freshly collected from the garden. For a local twist, I added some Royal Ashton cheese from a local dairy nestled against the Langeberg mountains.

“In 1661, Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie, lawyer and botanist, responsible for the gardens of the Versailles palace, and passionate about the cultivation of pears, wrote in reports: “It must be confessed that, among all fruits in this place, nature does not show anything so beautiful nor so noble as this pear. It is pear that makes the greatest honor on the tables…” “Source:  https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aag/2014/541097/

I have to agree with Jean-Baptiste. It is a pleasure to find a delectable ‘purpose for pears’ from the Towerwater garden.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely post and images. Thanks. A veritable pear fest.


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