Right before Christmas, my husband bought a large box of pears from Harry and David, having discovered a great discount through Living Social. My Sister-In-Law around about the same time, sent us a lovely package which was also from Harry and David, and which also included their famous, flavorful, juicy, incredibly delicious pears.
As well as enjoying the sweet and succulent fruit unadorned straight from the box, I also transformed the luscious produce into several dishes to take to friends parties, as an appetizer for a dinner party, a cocktail to start the evening, a sweet ending after a meal and as an accompaniment with dinner.
1 pear, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 lime, juiced
3 ounces of bourbon
6 ounces ginger ale, if desired (I forgot to add this)
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the pear, honey and lime juice. Add the bourbon, fill with ice and shake. Strain into 2 glasses. Top with ginger ale (if desired and remembered) and add ice.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, October 2013
ENDIVE WITH PEARS, BLUE CHEESE AND WALNUTS
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pear
1 tablespoon honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese crumbled
16 Belgian endive leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add pear, cook 2 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in honey. Cool 3 minutes, stir in cheese, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon about 2 teaspoons of pear mixture into each leaf. Sprinkle with walnuts.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, December 2014
RICOTTA, THYME, HONEY AND FRESH PEAR TOPPING
16 ounces ricotta
2 or 3 ripe pears
10 stems fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
1/4 cup honey
Core, peel and cut pears into chunks. Spread about 1 tablespoon of ricotta on each crostini. Top with a cube of pear and sprinkle of thyme. Drizzle with honey and olive oil.
Recipe adapted from Glamour Magazine
PEAR AND ARUGULA SALAD
Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard and a spoonful of honey, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir with a whisk. Combine salad greens, chopped pear and chopped toasted walnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad mixture, toss to coat. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, November 2013
PEAR SALAD WITH BUTTERMILK CURRY DRESSING
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup sliced celery
1 pear, cubed
1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
3 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 heads of endive, leaves separated
In a large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, buttermilk, curry powder, onion powder and salt. Toss in 1/4 cup apricots, shallots, celery, pear, walnuts and 2 teaspoons of tarragon. Stuff salad into endive leaves and top with remaining apricots and tarragon.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, October 2011
PEAR SALAD WITH WATERCRESS AND GOAT CHEESE
1 bag watercress
3 pears, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons pear infused vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Arrange watercress on a serving platter. Top with sliced pears, pecans then crumbled goat cheese. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and mustard, season to taste with salt and pepper. In a slow steady stream, add the olive oil, whisking constantly until dressing is emulsified. Pour dressing over salad and serve immediately.
FIG BALSAMIC GLAZED DUCK WITH PEARL ONION AND PEAR HASH
4 duck breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pears, halved, cored, cut into slices
1 10-ounce bag pearl onions, blanched, peeled, halved
4 potatoes, boiled until just tender, peeled, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup fig balsamic vinegar
Using small sharp knife, score duck skin in 1-inch-wide grid pattern. Season duck generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add duck, cook about 6 minutes per side for medium. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil. Discard all but 1/4 cup drippings from skillet. Heat drippings in skillet over high heat. Add pears, onions and potatoes, sauté until beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Stir in sage, season with salt and pepper. Transfer hash to bowl, cover to keep warm. Heat same skillet over high heat. Add broth and vinegar, bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Boil until reduced to glaze, about 5 minutes. Season glaze with salt and pepper.
Divide hash among plates. Cut duck into 1/2 inch slices, fan over hash. Drizzle glaze over and serve.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2005
APPLE PEAR TARTS WTIH CHEDDAR ROSEMARY STREUSEL
juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup flour plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon
3/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
4 ounces butter, chilled and cut into small pieces.
1/2 package of refrigerated pie crust
Heat oven to 375F. Quarter, core and dice the apple and pear. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice, mix. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour, toss to coat. Mix in vanilla essence.
In another bowl, combine the remaining flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cheese and rosemary. Add butter and mix.
Unroll pie crust, using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out 20 circles, re-rolling dough as necessary. Place dough circles over holes of a 20 cup mini-muffin pan, and press down gently. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling into each cup, top with a scant 2 teaspoons of topping, flattened slightly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and topping is lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.