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A ripe juicy pear is beyond compare but hard to come by as supermarkets tend to stock the more durable, harder varieties. Some varieties such as beurré bosc can be bought when firm and will ripen at home in the fruit bowl. Pears, are an underrated fruit – try these simple ways to use them.
Bring 500 ml of water to the boil with 500 ml of red wine in a medium saucepan, add a cup of sugar and when dissolved reduce heat to a slow simmer and add four peeled brown skinned pears with the juice of a lemon, and some spice such as half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg or cinnamon powder. Cook covered for 30–90 minutes or until soft (depends on the ripeness of the pear). Remove pears and reduce syrup until sticky. Serve with cream and syrup.
Pear and Walnut Salad
Take two large handfuls of washed bitter greens such as wild rocket, endive or radicchio and lay over a serving plate, dress with a little vinaigrette and gently lift through. Quarter three firm pears, remove seeds and cut lengthways into fine segments, skin on. Sprinkle a handful of walnuts, already toasted for 8 minutes at 180°C. Round out the flavours with 100 g of crumbled blue cheese or 100 g of shaved parmesan.
Pear and Cinnamon Compote
Peel, quarter and core four ripe pears. Chop into large pieces and place in a single layer in a large heavy based saucepan. Add half a cup of water, 3 tablespoons of fragrant honey and a whole cinnamon stick. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes on a low heat. Allow to cool, remove and discard cinnamon, and refrigerate. Serve several spoonfuls over muesli and yoghurt for breakfast. Will keep several days in the fridge.