Tasty ways to pear it up

Tasty ways to try pears now

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Emily Ryan

Af­ter stop­ping to greet cus­tomers, Ed Weaver con­tin­ued check­ing the pears on dis­play in his farm mar­ket — straight­en­ing boxes, oc­ca­sion­ally grab­bing a ripe one.

“When I’m work­ing around here and I see one that’s turn­ing yel­low, I have to test it out,” he said with a smile.

Weaver’s Or­chard in Mor­gan­town of­fers roughly 10 va­ri­eties with names like Mag­ness, Gem, Blake’s Pride, Shenan­doah, Sun­rise and Seckel, which are “very, very sweet.”

Find your per­fect pear… avail­able now.

“You have to har­vest them on the im­ma­ture side,” ex­plained Stu­art Con­sta­ble, pro­duc­tion man­ager at High­land Or­chards in West Ch­ester. “If you let them turn yel­low on the tree, they’ll be mush.”

He grows four types: Seckel, An­jou, Bosc and Bartlett.

“Bartlett’s my fa­vorite for this time of the year,” Con­sta­ble said. “It’s just a nice, sweet pear.”

“I’m a big fan of all pears,” agreed Stephanie Car­ney, line cook at Blue Pear Bistro in West Ch­ester.

The his­toric prop­erty boasted the re­gion’s first pear tree. So, of course, its sig­na­ture salad fea­tures pears — paired with pro­sciutto, golden raisins, toasted wal­nuts and blue cheese.

“I think all the fla­vors just blend well to­gether,” she de­scribed. “You have the salti­ness fromthe crispy pro­sciutto. You have the tang from the blue cheese and the sweet­ness fromthe pears.”

Also en­joy pears in a skil- let cake or sa­vory tart.

“I find that a lot of peo­ple have never ex­pe­ri­enced a re­ally good pear,” Weaver said. “Pears need to be watched care­fully as they’re ripen­ing. And they are re­ally su­per when they’re a nice yel­low color.”

Mom’s Skil­let Pear Cake IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

¼ cup but­ter 1 cup su­gar 2 eggs 1 tea­spoon vanilla 1 tea­spoon grated orange peel 1¼ cups flour 1 tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der 1 tea­spoon bak­ing soda ¼ tea­spoon salt 1 tea­spoon ginger 2 cups peeled, finely chopped Bosc pears

2 peeled, thinly sliced Bosc pears

1/3 cup chopped pecans or pis­ta­chios

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Pre­heat oven to 350 de­grees. But­ter the in­side of an 8- or 9-inch cast iron skil­let. Cream but­ter and su­gar. Beat eggs, vanilla and grated orange peel un­til light and fluffy. In sep­a­rate bowl, mix flour, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda, salt and ginger. Mix dry in­gre­di­ents with creamed mix­ture. Beat till just blended. Bat­ter will be very stiff. Add chopped pears to bat­ter. Mix well and spoon into skil­let. Spread evenly and top with sliced Bosc pears and pecans. Bake at 350 de­grees for 35 min­utes. Serve warm with ice cream. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF NANCY TIRRELL AND WEAVER’S OR­CHARD

Blue Pear Bistro’s Sig­na­ture Pear Salad IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

Dress­ing: ¼ cup white bal­samic vine­gar

2 ta­ble­spoons maple syrup

¾ tea­spoon Di­jon mus­tard

Salt and white pep­per to taste ½ cup olive oil Poached pears: 3 Bosc pears 1½ cups white wine ½ tea­spoon vanilla ¼ cup su­gar ¼ cup honey 1 cin­na­mon stick ¼ sprig rose­mary 5 slices pro­sciutto ¼ cup crum­bled blue cheese ¼ cup golden raisins ¼ cup toasted wal­nuts 1 bag mixed green let­tuce

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Dress­ing: Blend vine­gar, maple syrup, mus­tard, salt and pep­per. Slowly add olive oil with blender run­ning on low.

Poached pears: Peel pears and slice in half. Use a melon baller to re­move seeds. In a sauce­pot, com­bine wine, vanilla, su­gar, honey, cin­na­mon and rose­mary. Dis­solve su­gar and add pears. Bring to a sim­mer. Sim­mer for 20 min­utes.

Mean­while, bake sliced pro­sciutto for 15 to 20 min­utes in a 325- to 350-de­gree oven un­til nice and crisp.

Di­vide let­tuce onto five plates. Top each with half a poached pear and one slice of pro­sciutto, crum­bled. Add blue cheese, raisins and wal­nuts and dress­ing. Serves 5. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF BLUE PEAR BISTRO

Sa­vory Pear and Gruyère Tart IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

2 tea­spoons ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

1 large red onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick half-moon slices

1 ta­ble­spoon finely chopped fresh rose­mary Salt 1 sheet frozen puff pas­try dough (about 9 ounces), thawed ac­cord­ing to pack- age di­rec­tions

All-pur­pose flour for rolling out the dough

1 cup grated Gruyère cheese (2½ ounces)

2 gen­tly packed cups arugula or baby kale

2 firm An­jou pears that are just beginning to ripen (about 1 pound)

IN­STRUC­TIONS

Pre­heat oven to 400 de­grees. Cover a bak­ing sheet with parch­ment pa­per or a sil­i­cone bak­ing mat. Set a large skil­let over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and swirl in the pan. Add the onion, rose­mary and a gen­er­ous pinch of salt. Cook the onion, stir­ring from time to time, un­til the slices are ten­der, brown, and caramelized, about 10 min­utes. While the onion cooks, pre­pare the dough. Lightly flour your work sur­face and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to an 11-by-15-inch rec­tan­gle. Trans­fer the dough to the bak­ing sheet. Mois­ten the perime­ter of the dough with a lit­tle wa­ter us­ing the tip of your fin­ger. Fold the edge of the dough over to form a ¾-inch wide bor­der. Lay the cooked onion slices over the sur­face of the tart, within the bor­der. Scat­ter the cheese over the onion and lay the arugula on top.

Cut each pear off of its core in four cuts. Lay the pear pieces flesh-side-down on a cut­ting board and cut into thin slices (1/16-inch). Ar­range the slices in three rows down the length of the tart, over­lap­ping about a ¼-inch. Add a small pinch of salt over the pears and put in the oven to bake. Bake the tart un­til the pas­try is golden brown all over, 20 to 25 min­utes. Peek in the oven once or twice dur­ing bak­ing. If a sec­tion of dough puffs up no­tably, poke it with the tip of a knife to de­flate. Re­move from oven, let cool for a few min­utes and serve. Makes 10 to 12 serv­ings as an ap­pe­tizer. RECIPE COUR­TESY OF USAPEARS.ORG AND KATIE MORFORD

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF STEPHANIE CAR­NEY

Blue Pear Bistro’s sig­na­ture salad fea­tures pear, crispy pro­sciutto, blue cheese and more.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Dif­fer­ent types of pears tempt cus­tomers at Weaver’s Or­chard.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Find Sun­rise pears at Weaver’s Or­chard.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Though small in size, Seckel pears are big on sweet­ness.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Mag­ness pears have “a very del­i­cate fla­vor,” says Ed Weaver.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

It’s pear sea­son!

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