Even though in this part of the world September is still full-on summer, once pears make an appearance you know Autumn is on its way. The air is slightly cooler and crisper during the mornings and evenings; the weather has changed.
Crisp – the very definition of Autumn. And what fruit could define the essence of crisp better than a pear?
Of course we can buy pears all year round – but these are tasteless long haul pears that are dry and hard to the bite. I’m talking about pears that have a floral smell when you bring them up to your nose. Pears that are buttery in texture; that once bitten release their sweet juice.
As September and October are pear months, I thought I’d rustle up a few pear recipes both sweet and savory to help you make the most of these delicious fruits.
Pork Loin and Pear Salad (warm)
1st: Heat a griddle pan until it is searing hot. Whilst this is heating up marinade the pork loin slices in oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper.
2nd: Peel, core and slice a couple of pears. Once the griddle is hot place the pears on the griddle pan to create scorch marks on all sides. Leave to one side to cool.
3rd: Place the pork loin into the griddle – do not move the pieces around. Griddle them for a couple of minutes each side until cooked through.
4th: Dress rocket leaves with olive oil and lemon juice, season to taste.
5th: Arrange artistically on your plate.
This makes a great lunch or a light supper. Adding blue cheese and/or walnuts would be quite a classic combo but I tend to keep this dish simple. Make sure to have some crusty bread on the side to soak up any juices!
Alternatively make it a cold salad and replace the pork loin with slices of prosciutto.
Pear and almond cake
I made this cake last weekend and it is delicious. The good thing with this mixture is that it can be quite sloppy resulting in a moist cake. Not only is it great as an afternoon tea trolley cake served with a dollop of double cream but it makes a convincing pudding to end a meal with. I followed this following River Cottage recipe :
- 300g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 150g wholemeal self raising flour (I used normal self raising flour)
- 150g ground almonds
- A good pinch of cinnamon
For the caramelised pears:
- 6 pears (reasonably firm, but not rock hard)
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Click on the River Cottage link and watch the video on how to make your cake.
- 2 x 200g sheets store-bought shortcrust pastry, thawed
- 80g gorgonzola
- 2 teaspoons oregano leaves
- 2 pears, quartered
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- cracked black pepper
- 50g watercress sprigs
- 6 slices prosciutto
1st: Preheat oven to 180°C.
2nd: Place pastry on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.
3rd: Spread each pastry with gorgonzola and top with oregano and pears.
4th: Place the honey, oil and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine and drizzle the tarts with half the honey mixture.
5th: Bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp and serve, topped with watercress and prosciutto and the remaining olive oil and honey mixture.