Celebrate National Pear Month

 Did you know that December is National Pear Month? In a world full of apples and oranges, pears don't  get the same amount of attention and I'm okay with that. I like to think of pears as the hidden jewel of produce.  With its sublime flavoring,  pears are extremely versatile and besides being eaten fresh, they can also be appreciated in savory and sweet recipes. High in fiber and a long season time depending upon the type of pear, you have an ability to enjoy pears for a majority of the year.

Not sure how to pick pears? Check the neck by gently pressing on the stem with your thumb. If it yields pressure, it's ripe, if it is still firm it's not ready, throw it in a brown paper bag with a banana or a slice of bread to increase the ripening time.

Here are a few recipes courtesy of USA Pears and stay tuned for NBC Connecticut this Saturday during the 9 o'clock hour, where Shop, Eat and Sleep will do a cooking segment using pears. Stay tuned!





Caramel Pear Galette

Easier than pie! This free form fruit tart is terrific with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of crème fraiche.

Ingredients

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust (9-inch)
  • 3 tablespoons of caramel sauce, divided
  • 3 ripe Red or Green Anjou USA Pears
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon granulated or turbinado sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bring pie crust to room temperature as directed on package. Unroll the pie crust on a non-stick or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spread one tablespoon of caramel topping on the crust, leaving a 1 ½-inch border.
Peel, quarter and core the pears. Slice each quarter lengthwise into 4 even slices. Place pear slices in a bowl and toss with cinnamon and flour. Starting in the center, arrange the slices on the dough in a spoke pattern, in overlapping layers as necessary to fit and leaving a 1 ½-inch border. Drizzle the pear slices with 1 tablespoon of caramel topping. Fold the edge of the crust over the tart. Brush the top of the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 30 minutes or until crust is lightly brown. Let galette cool 10 minutes. Drizzle top of the fruit with the remaining tablespoon of caramel topping before serving.
prep time: About 15 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
yield: Serves 6
Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.





Balsamic-Glazed Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini

A new favorite recipe for pear lovers, this appetizer is incredibly delicious...and can be prepared in a snap! The balsamic glaze is the perfect complement to the sweet pear and salty goat cheese.

Ingredients

  • 2 USA Pears
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 24 baguette rounds, toasted 
  • ½ cup spreadable goat cheese
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted*
  • Ground black pepper, if desired

Directions

Slice pears stem-side-up into 12 quarter-inch width vertical planks. Cut large slices in half lengthwise for a total of 48 slices.
Heat vinegar, butter, and honey in large frying pan over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until reduced by half, about 2 tablespoons. Add pear slices and continue cooking for 1 minute, turning once.
Place 2 pear slices on each baguette round and top with 1 teaspoon goat cheese. Sprinkle almonds over cheese and garnish with fresh pepper, if desired.
*To toast almonds, place in heavy frying pan and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes or until tan with toasted aroma.
prep time: 4 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
yield: Makes 24 servings