Pears have quickly become one of our favorite fall fruits. Our little one goes crazy for them, so we tend to buy them every chance we get! There’s just something about their sweet flavor and soft juicy centers that make them so delicious! With pear season in full swing, all 10 varieties of USA Pears are being harvested right now! Not only are they great to snack on, but they make great additions to salads, pizzas and are perfect for using in fall desserts. Before working at Sur La Table, I had no idea that crisp or under-ripe pears could be poached- and guess what? It’s so easy!
How do you know if a pear is ideal for poaching or eating right away? Simple, just apply gentle pressure to the narrow “neck” of the pear with your thumb. If it yields to pressure, it’s ripe! If not, you can choose from a variety of liquids to cook or poach your pears in, the most traditional is wine. Since we don’t have wine on hand, I like to use apple juice, orange juice, fruit purees or coconut milk for my poaching liquids. Spices along with these liquids help infuse amazing flavor into the pears and make them incredibly tender and ready to eat.
If you’re afraid to poach, don’t be. I’m going to show you just how quick and simple it is! In a large dutch oven or a heavy bottom stock pot, add 4 cups of liquid. I used a mostly apple juice with a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice. While the liquids come to a simmer, wash and peel the pears, then simmer them in liquid until they’re tender, about 15-20 minutes. Since I planned on using my pears in a tart, I didn’t add any spices or extracts to the poaching liquid, but if you plan on serving them on their own, definitely infuse them with a little cinnamon or vanilla!
Once the pears are tender, remove them and allow them to cool for a few minutes before halving, coring and slicing. I needed three pears for my tart, but if you have extras you use them for a quick pear crisp or even bake them into muffins! I arranged the halves on top of my almond cream with the narrow parts facing inward. As the tart bakes the cream will puff up around the pears and it ends up looking pretty stunning!
Allow the tart to cool and then slice it up and serve it with some vanilla ice cream or vanilla-infused whipped cream! Or dust it with a little cinnamon and powdered sugar and eat it as is! This french-inspired pear and almond combo is simple divine!
If you’ve never poached pears you’ve got to give it a try this season! Fall is the perfect time to used poached pears in all sorts of dishes and desserts. For more pear inspiration, make sure to check out www.usapears.org.
- For the pastry dough:
- 1½ c. all-purpose flour
- ½ c. powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tbsp.) frozen unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. ice water
- For the pears:
- 4 c. apple juice
- 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
- 3 pears (firm but ripe), peeled
- For the filling:
- ¾ c. blanched slivered almonds
- 1 tbsp. cake flour*
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch of cardamom
- ½ c. sugar
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
- To prepare the dough, in a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and ice water. Slowly pour into the flour mixture, mixing until combined. Cut the butter into the mixture with a pastry blender until pea-size clumps form. Knead the dough into a ball, then pat flat and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
- After the dough has chilled, roll it out into a circle approximately ⅛" thick. Place into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the dough so that it is flush with the rim, then place a piece of aluminum foil over top and freeze for 30 minutes. Place in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 20, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- To poach the pears, in a large dutch oven or stock pot, combine the apple juice and orange juice and bring to a simmer. Add the pears and boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to a low simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until pears are tender. Remove and allow to cool on a plate.
- Meanwhile, to make the filling, grind the almonds, flour, cinnamon and cardamom in a food processor. Sprinkle in the sugar, add the butter and extracts. Mix until smooth, add the egg and continue mixing until the egg is incorporated.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spread the filling evenly in baked crust. Cut each pear in half lengthwise, remove cores, then cut crosswise into thin slices. Slide a spatula under the "halves" and place on top of the filling with the narrow ends towards the center.
- Place in the oven and bake until the filling has set and the top is golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes before removing, cutting and serving.
Recipe source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.