Salad with Romaine and Stilton.
was a kid, I loved both kinds of pears — the ones that
came in cans and the fresh ones that grew on trees. I’m
not entirely certain I realized they were the same fruit.
that I am older, I still have a secret, shameful fondness
for the canned stuff. But what really thrills me are the
fresh fruit in all their varieties: Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc,
Starkrimson, Comice and more.
time of year, it’s pearadise.
cooking, pears are like tinsel on the Christmas tree. They
don’t really stand out by themselves, in most cases —
they are the added something extra that brings the whole
dish together and makes it seem more special.
and succulent, pears are generally not going to be part of a
main course. They’re not an entree kind of fruit. But they
bring an irresistible flavor and compelling texture to many
desserts and breakfasts.
course, when I made an assortment of pear-related dishes, I
began with a salad.
are a natural ingredient for salads. Softer than apples, but
just as sweet, they provide a delicious counterpoint to the
acidity of a dressing, along with a textural contrast to the
best of all is the way pears go with cheese. The
embarrassingly easy recipe I made uses Stilton, which is the
king of cheeses. Unfortunately, as befits a king, it is also
one of the more expensive cheeses.
don’t want to pay the big bucks for the Stilton, you can
achieve very nearly the same flavor combination by using
another blue cheese (blue cheese goes with pear like caramel
goes with vanilla). Try a Roquefort or a gorgonzola and you
won’t be disappointed.
that matter, you can just use the cheap blue-cheese
crumbles. Your mouth will love you for it.
most gorgeous and elegant way to prepare pears has to be to
poach them in port for a dessert that will not be soon
not kidding about that. I had a pear that had been poached
in port six years ago, and I still think about it today.
appeal of this sophisticated dessert is not just the color,
which is a deep and satisfying shade of ruby. The process of
making it, which is very nearly as simple as the pear salad,
also imbues the pear with a hearty flavor, slightly sweet,
that is heightened by the use of a few aromatics: orange
peel, lemon peel, cinnamon and clove.
like this, the pear is great on its own. But if you want to
add a scoop of vanilla ice cream — purely for the sake of
contrast, you understand — no one will complain.
the port-poached pear was so attractive, I decided to make
another good-looking dessert, Pear Upside-Down Cake.
dish builds on a foundation of pears and caramel, another
perfect combination. The pears absorb the caramel on the
bottom of the cake pan — which of course becomes the top
of the cake — with the cake batter above (which is to say
this is no typical cake batter. It’s lighter than most,
with whipped egg whites folded into it, but is also grounded
with just a hint of the flavor of corn from a few
tablespoons of cornmeal.
like this, the cake is great on its own. But if you want to
add a scoop of vanilla ice cream (or caramel gelato) —
purely for the sake of contrast, you understand — no one
want to try making a baked dessert with pears, but find the
idea of an entire cake too daunting, then you can try a
cobbler, the baked part is only on top, which makes it
easier to prepare. And the top part of a Drop-Biscuit Pear
and Dried Cherry Cobbler is so foolproof that even a
first-time baker is assured of a successful result.
other secret to this recipe is its use of dried cherries.
Dried cherries are like raisins, only a hundred times better
because they’re cherries. They create tiny little
explosions of flavor in your mouth. But even so, they do not
overpower the relatively subtle taste of the pears. The two
flavors complement; they do not compete.
they go beautifully with the drop-biscuit topping. It’s
like jam with the buttery biscuits, only better.
like this, the cobbler is great on its own. But if you want
to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream — well, you know.
SALAD WITH ROMAINE AND STILTON
cup sherry vinegar or wine vinegar
teaspoon Dijon mustand
pears, roughly chopped
pound Stilton or other blue cheese, crumbled
cup walnuts, toasted
cup sherry vinaigrette
make sherry vinaigrette, combine in a jar olive oil, sherry
vinegar or wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to
taste. Cover and shake vigorously. Use as needed. Store in
Tear the Romaine lettuce into pieces and put in a bowl. Add
the pears, cheese and walnuts, and dress with the
serving: 519 calories; 44 g fat; 10 g saturated fat; 21 mg
cholesterol; 12 g protein; 23 g carbohydrate; 12 g sugar; 8
g fiber; 562 mg sodium; 234 mg calcium.
from The New York Times
cup granulated sugar
(2-inch) strips orange peel
(2-inch) strip lemon peel
firm, ripe Bosc pears
cream for serving, optional
Combine wine, sugar, orange peels, lemon peel, cinnamon,
clove and 2 cups water in a 4-quart saucepan over
medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves,
about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
1/4 inch from pear bottoms to make a flat surface. Peel
pears and nestle them in the bottom of pan containing wine
mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and
simmer, covered, until a knife slides into pears with ease,
50 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool in pan. The
pears will continue to take on color as they cool in the
serve, transfer pears, cut-side down, to 4 plates and
drizzle some of the sauce from the pan over pears. Serve
with ice cream if desired.
serving: 240 calories; no fat; no saturated fat; no
cholesterol; 1 g protein; 52 g carbohydrate; 39 g sugar; 6 g
fiber; 6 mg sodium; 22 mg calcium.
from "The New York Times International Cook Book,"
by Craig Claiborne
6 to 8 servings
tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room
temperature, divided, plus more
cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
tablespoons coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon kosher salt
cup brown sugar, packed
medium pears (about 1 pound)
cup granulated sugar
teaspoon vanilla extract
large eggs, separated
cup whole milk
cream or caramel gelato, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter cake pan; line bottom
with a parchment-paper round.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a small
bowl. Set aside. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small pan
over medium-low heat and stir in brown sugar until well
combined. Pour into prepared cake pan and spread to coat the
Peel, halve and core the pears. Cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch
slices, and arrange over the caramel in a circular patter,
overlapping as needed.
granulated sugar, remaining 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed with an
electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add
yolks one at a time, beating to blend between additions and
occasionally scraping down the side of the bowl with a
spatula. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating
with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the
Using clean, dry beaters (or a whisk), beat egg whites on
low speed in a medium bowl until frothy. Increase the speed
to medium and continue to beat until whites form soft peaks.
Fold about 1/4 of the whites into cake batter. Add in
remaining whites, gently folding just to blend. Pour batter
over pears in pan; smooth the top.
Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until top is golden
brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out
with a few small, moist crumbs attached, about 55 minutes to
1 hour. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a
thin knife around the inside of the pan to release cake.
Note: This can be done up to 1 day ahead at this point.
Store airtight at room temperature.
Invert cake onto a plate; remove parchment paper. Serve warm
or at room temperature, with whipped cream or caramel
gelato, if desired.
serving (based on 8): 419 calories; 19 g fat; 11 g saturated
fat; 94 mg cholesterol; 4 g protein; 59 g carbohydrate; 44 g
sugar; 2 g fiber; 197 mg sodium; 72 mg calcium.
from Bon Appétit
Pear and Dried Cherry Cobbler
medium Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch
dried tart cherries
cup (packed) light brown sugar
plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
tablespoons fresh lemon juice
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoons kosher salt, divided
of ground cloves
teaspoons baking powder
cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
ice cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss pears, cherries, brown
sugar, 2 tablespoons of the flour, lemon juice, cinnamon,
1/8 teaspoon of the salt and cloves in a large bowl.
Transfer to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder, the remaining 1
teaspoon salt and 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar in a
medium bowl. Rub in butter with your fingers until a coarse
meal forms. Gradually mix in 1/3 cup hot water until a soft,
wet dough forms (a few lumps are OK). Drop clumps of dough
over filling; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake until filling is bubbling and top is golden brown and
cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool. Serve with
serving: 571 calories; 18 g fat; 11 g saturated fat; 46 mg
cholesterol; 5 g protein; 100 g carbohydrate; 63 g sugar; 5
g fiber; 284 mg sodium; 198 mg calcium.
from Bon Appétit