EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 11, 2013

Pear Caramel Pie a gooey delight

Pat's Kitchen
Patricia Altomare

---- — Fresh pears are a favorite all through the autumn season.

Pears have become as versatile as the apple in our kitchens; adding a special touch to salads, soups, and some main dishes, as well desserts galore. Make a pear chutney to top pork chops, substitute pears in a favorite apple cake, or toss in a salad with greens, walnuts, dried cranberries and cheese of your choice.

Every year at this time I can’t help but think about pears; they were a part of my past, a special memory for me that always puts a smile on my face. My grand-parents had a huge Bartlett pear tree in their backyard. My grandfather babied that tree so that it produced a lot of pears; I can remember him picking bushels of them, and my grandmother making her special pear pie often. Every Sunday night when we visited for supper for the usual tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, she would switch dessert from apple pie to pear pie in the fall months. I’m sure my grandmother is a big reason why I am used to cooking and baking with pears and look forward to this season.

Pear Caramel Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

Favorite pie crust recipe for a double crust pie, or purchase pre-made pie crusts such as Pillsbury brand.

Filling

8 cups pears, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons heavy cream

3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven 375 degrees.

Sprinkle pears with lemon juice.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add pears. Toss to mix.

Add vanilla and cream to dry ingredients

Melt butter in heavy fry pan. Add fruit mixture and cook about 7 to 9 minutes or just to slightly soften pears.

Spoon mixture into 9-inch pie plate lined with bottom crust.

Place top crust on and pinch crusts together. Cut a few slits in top crust to vent.

Bake 45 to 60 minutes till pears feel soft when pierced with a fork.

Note: May substitute apples to make Apple Caramel Pie.

Pear Salad

Serves 2

1 pear, peeled, cored, softened

5 ounces mixed greens

Goat cheese

Nuts, optional

Honey

Balsamic vinegar

Place a pear half on a small bed of greens.

Roll an ounce of goat cheese into a ball and roll in chopped nuts; place in center of pear half.

Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and honey, to taste.

Patricia Altomare invites feedback. Email her at patakitchen@yahoo.com.

 

 

Pears found in New England orchards Anjou: Both red and green varieties are sweet and juicy, with a firm texture that makes them perfect for cooking or roasting. Great snacking or in salads. Asian: Also called Chinese pears or apple pears, their sweet crunchiness makes them tasty for eating fresh, or even grilling. Bartlett: The most popular variety, Bartlett's ripen from green to yellow and hold up well when baked, cooked, or canned. Bosc: Light brown and russeted, with the classic pear shape, the Bosc has a sweet, spiced flavor and firm flesh that makes is great for poaching, cooking or pear tarts. Comice: More rounded than other pears, with a fruity aroma and a slightly less grainy texture. Comices are ideal served with your favorite cheese. They are too juicy for cooking. Seckel: Also called sugar pears, these ultra-sweet mini pears can be packed for picnics or put into lunch boxes. They are often pickled and used as a garnish. FYI: Pears are a good source of fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C.