Sunny Slope Orchard

Sunny Slope Orchard
In the coast range foothills overlooking the Sacramento Valley

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's Pear Season!

A single old pear tree stands tall near the south fence line of our property. Its crop comes early and we are eating the last of its harvest this week. It's an heirloom variety, probably a Clapps Favorite, and sadly we never have enough to offer for sale. But since the Bartlett pears from Suisun and the Delta are available now, you might want to try out a new recipe idea. Pears involve a bit more work than some other fruits since they are usually peeled, halved, cored, then sliced.

Pear coring tool

A Pear Corer comes in handy for the job; if you haven't seen one in person, look at Bill's photos of this clever tool in use. The working end of the tool itself is even pear-shaped!

Pears are great for drying and canning; you can add fresh pears to salads or eat them with yogurt for breakfast. But at our house, pear pie is the ultimate showcase for this lovely fruit. This treasured recipe comes from Candy DuMont of Vacaville, who won first prize in a recipe contest sponsored by our local newspaper years ago. Here it is, as printed on the yellowed-newsprint clipping that is still filed in my recipe box.

Pear Pie with Cheese Crumble Top
5 fresh Bartlett pears
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/8 tsp. salt

Pare, core and slice pears. Combine sugar, flour, ginger and salt. Mix with pears and turn into pastry shell. Sprinkle on the cheese crumble topping. Bake below oven center in a hot oven (425 degrees) until pears are tender and crust crisp and golden brown (40-45 minutes.) Serve warm.

Cheese Crumble Topping
1/3 cup sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. melted butter

If you like almonds, try adding about 1/3 cup of sliced or chopped almonds to the crumble topping. We always do.

Eat well,