Wednesday, 10 October 2012

a pear a day

When a friend told me she had a pear tree I knew a chutney day was in order.  I did not expect all the other delicious goodies that came with it.  Below are three very simple and very delicious recipes with pears.



Homemade pear chutney

Chutney may be a bit daunting for some, but it's very simple to make.  As long as you don't mind your house smelling of vinegar for a few hours you'll be alright.

This is a sweet and spicy recipe adapted from delicious magazine and as the source suggests would go deliciously with your Christmas meal or any leftover ham.  Tie a ribbon around and would make a great gift.


You'll need:
  • 1 kg ripe pears
  • 150g dried prunes, chopped
  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g raisins
  • 200g shallots, finely sliced (or finely sliced red onions)
  • 2 eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 600ml cider vinegar
Method:
1) Peel and core the pears, then chop them into chunks.  I wanted a chunky chutney so roughly chopped all the ingredients, but you can do whatever suits you.
2) Place the chopped and dried fruit in a large pan together with the sugar, cinnamon and shallots.
3) Pour half the vinegar in and mix till all the sugar is dissolved.
4) Then pour the remaining vinegar in and simmer for approx. 30 minutes till it starts to thicken.  If it's still runny simmer for a further 10 -15 minutes, but remember it will thicken even more when it cools.
5) Divide warm chutney between your sterilised warm jars.  This is very important to create the vacuum needed in the jars to preserve the chutney.  See below for sterilising jars.


                           

Sterilising jars:  Clean your jars with hot water and leave on drying rack to dry.  Preheat the oven to 140 degrees and place the clean jars in the oven to warm through, approx 15 minutes.  Remove warm jars and fill with chutney while chutney and jars are warm - this creates the vacuum and will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight.





Next on the agenda,

Pear Cake

This is the simplest cake I've ever come across and can be used with most fruits so long as they are not too juicy, works just as good with a tin of fruit cocktail...  In fact I think it's so simple would go as far to say its fool proof.  Try it, it's worth it.



You'll need:
  • 50g melted butter
  • 500g ripe buttery pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 75g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp apricot jam (for the glaze)
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • creme fraiche (to serve)
Method:
1) Heat oven to 180 degrees.  Grease a 20cm cake tin with butter
2) Put the prepared pears in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent them from discolouring
3) Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.  Melt the butter in the microwave and pour in the eggs mixture.  Add the flour, sugar and baking powder
4) Add the pears with their juices and pour into the cake tin.  Note: if your pears are very ripe you may need to add 3 more tablespoons of flour.
5) Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean then place on a wire rack and let cool
6) for the glaze, mix the apricot jam with a little boiling water to make a runny paste.  Then pour over the cake and dust with icing.  
10) Serve with creme fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.


And finally the 'pears' de resistance...

Cinnamon poached pears in chocolate blankets

These poached pears are very simple, and very quick to do.  I always thought poached pears were slightly old fashioned but when you take into account how easy they are and how tasty they are, I think they still have it when it comes to making an impression.  Being pure fruit and a little dark chocolate coating they remain a healthier option when it comes to sweets. 

Another serving suggestion with the actual poached pears, is to thinly slice the poached pear and serve it on a cracker with blue cheese (I would happily serve that as a starter at a dinner party).



You'll need:
  • 6 ripe eating pears
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 300ml water
  • 100g dark chocolate
Method:
1) Peel the pears leaving their stalks on.  Pour lemon juice on the pears so they don't discolour.
2) Place sugar in pan with the water and bring to boil or till the sugar is dissolved
3) Place the pears in the pan with the cinnamon stick.  If necessary add more water in the pan till all the pears are covered
4) Simmer for 20 minutes or till pears are soft.
5) Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 sec on high heat (careful not to burn).  Then pour over warm pears and serve immediately.


Gluvine poached pears with double cream

Now these are very precious little things.  If you enjoy a mug of mulled wine in front of the fire, you will love these pears.  Again they are very simple to make and you could have a decadent dessert ready in 20 minutes.  You could even prepare them beforehand and just warm them up before serving, not mention drink whatever mulled wine is left in the pan...



You'll need:
  • 6 ripe pears
  • 30ml  lemon juice
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 sachet of mulled wine spice
  • half a bottle of cheap red wine
  • double cream
Method:
1) Peel the pears leaving their stalks on and pour the lemon juice over them so they don't discolour
2) Pour the wine, sugar and sachet of spice in a pan and bring to boil
3) Place the pears in the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Pears should be totally covered and start to take on a red colour.
4) Once pears are ready remove and serve warm with double cream.

1 comment:

  1. You've just turned me on to pears...again, your photography and setting is amazing!

    ReplyDelete