Peter and I have been celebrating the bounty of new season Australian pears over the last few weeks. Indeed, pears have been on my shopping list every single day. I so enjoy slicing into one mid afternoon for a snack, knowing that it's going to be just perfect to eat. That slightly fragrant and delicately sweet fruit, ripe and succulent. Oh my! Even more so, I love teaming them with spices like vanilla, cinnamon, saffron or bay, transforming them into sublime desserts.
I'd been seeking out more pear-based recipes and just in time the industry body for Aussie pear growers has published a second cookbook, Rediscover Australian Pears volume 2. It was with great delight that I took delivery of my copy from the postman last week. I've been working my way through the 66 recipes for snacks, lunch, dinner and dessert and thought I'd share one of our favourites, so far, with you.
POT-ROASTED PEARS WITH VANILLA
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 vanilla bean, split
3 tablespoons caster sugar
90mls natural apple juice
4 firm pears of good size
juice of half a lemon
cream or sour cream, to serve
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Peel and core the pears, and cut them into quarters. Place them gently into a bowl and sprinkle with some fresh lemon juice (to stop them from turning brown). Place the cubed butter into the bottom of a heavy based cast iron pan (or a stove to oven fry pan). Scrape the vanilla bean and add to the pan, along with the sugar and the apple juice. Then layer the pears over the mixture. Place the pan on the stove over a medium to high heat and bring it to simmering point, spooning some of the liquid over the pears. Cover with a double thickness of aluminium foil, or a tight fitting lid. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the pears for half an hour.
Remove the foil fro the pan and gently turn the pears. Continue to roast for 20-30 minutes longer, until the pears are golden and the liquid has reduced. Remove the vanilla bean. Serve with dollops of cream or sour cream. Serves 4.
Note: this is my adaptation of chef Andrew McConnell's recipe from pp102 of Rediscover Australian Pears volume 2. I used less sugar than the original recipe and suggested the use of lemon juice to prevent the fruit from browning. I also suggest natural apple juice, with no additives for the recipe.
Australian Pears, the industry body for Aussie pear growers, has united for the second time, talented chefs and cooks to honour Australian pears with a delectable collection of recipes. Australian culinary legends including Maggie Beer, Guy Grossi, Stephanie Alexander and Lyndey Milan are among the contributors to the book.
Rediscover Australian Pears volume 2 is available free when you purchase a kilogram of pears from Woolworths Supermarkets. The book will also be available from selected retailers from 28 July priced at $12.95. With such an assortment of beautiful recipes, I suggest you get your hands on a copy pronto!
If you love pears as much as I do, you might also enjoy my recipes for slow cooked pears with cinnamon, bay and vanilla; my vanilla and saffron pear compote; and my vanilla poached pears with simple salted butter caramel sauce. Yum! Thank you to Australian Pears for sending me a copy of the book. I love it!
Tell me dear readers, do you enjoy pears when they are in season? What's your favourite way of eating or cooking them?
Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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- Liz Posmyk
NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.