Pearing Down For Fall
Three fun and inspired ways to enjoy this versatile fruit.
The kids are back to school and the sun is setting earlier, but there's still some time left to enjoy the last few weeks of summer.
When you say pear, most people think of the bell-shaped Bartlett without even knowing that it's only one of the many known varieties of pears. Bartlett pears are iconic and especially versatile.
The juicy flesh can be eaten fresh or chopped to be tossed in a salad with crumbled blue cheese and walnuts. It can be roasted before blending as a smoothie that you can drink throughout the week, like this Cinnamon-Roasted Pear Smoothie:
1 large ripe but firm red or green pear, halved and cored
1 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almondmilk
1/2 cup drained silken tofu
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal or hemp seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup ice cubes
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pear halves, cut-side up, on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Turn pear halves over and continue roasting until juicy and meltingly tender, about 10 minutes more. Let cool. Pears will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
2. Combine pear, almondmilk, tofu, flaxseed and cinnamon in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice and blend again until smooth. Pour into 2 or 3 tall glasses and garnish with pear slices.
Bartlett pears also hold their shape when poached, grilled, or baked, and you can roast pork loin on a bed of pears. Try this Roasted Pork Loin and Pears recipe for a new take on the other white meat.
1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin roast, tied
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme or lemon thyme, divided
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 assorted ripe but firm pears, halved and cored
1/2 pound shallots (about 8), roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rub pork all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil, and season with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the thyme, and salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss together pears, shallots, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme. Arrange pear mixture in a 9x13-inch baking dish or roasting pan. Place pork, fat-side up, on top. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 145°F, about 1 hour.
2. Let pork rest for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the twine and thinly slice pork. Arrange slices over pears and shallots on a large platter and drizzle with pan juices.
Bartlett pears also keep their subtle flavor when preserved into syrups and chutneys. This sumptuous Pear Bundt Cake is the perfect ending to summer and a great way to welcome a new season.
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup expeller-pressed canola oil
3/4 cup natural brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 small to medium Bartlett pears, cored and chopped (leave peel on)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/3 cup raisins
Canola spray oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 2-quart bundt pan with spray oil and set aside.
2. Whisk together applesauce, oil and brown sugar, blending completely. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add vanilla.
3. Sift together both flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and gradually add to liquid ingredients, blending completely. The batter will be thick and slightly sticky. Stir in pears, nuts and raisins.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
Think of Bartletts as your practice fruit for autumn: anything that can be done with an apple can be done with a pear!
Go to wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes to find more delicious recipes. And don’t forget to visit wholefoodsmarket.com/sales or download the app to enjoy great savings on pears and other high-quality ingredients!
[Top pear photo: Flickr user Kiran Foster]