Baked Stuffed Pears

Baked-Stuffed-Pears-smSQ

Tangy cranberries, walnuts, ginger, and cinnamon complement the sweet and spicy Bosc pear. Perfect for baking, Bosc pears hold their elegant shape.

Ingredients              
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 Bosc USA Pears
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 teaspoon minced crystallized ginger
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Cut each pear lengthwise, scoop out the core with a melon baller, and expand the opening to about 1 ½ inches.

In a small bowl, blend the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Mix in the walnuts, cranberries, and ginger. Spoon the filling into the centers of the pears. Place the filled pears in a baking pan just large enough to hold them snugly.

In a small bowl whisk together the honey, water, and lemon juice. Pour around the pears in the baking dish.

Bake until the pears are tender when pierced, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and serve with the pan juices.

prep time: About 20 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes
yield: Serves 6

Recipe developed by Amy Sherman.

Fire up the Grill with USA Pears

That’s right, it’s National Barbecue Month! Here in the recently sunny Pacific Northwest, we’re pulling out all the stops to take advantage of the weather while we can. May feels like the start of summer around here this year—it’s a pear-fect time to fire up the grill! Remember, grilling doesn’t have to stop with sausages and shish kabobs. Like many other firm-fleshed fruits, pears are delicious when grilled, especially when topped with sweet or savory accompaniments like ice cream or cheese!

Here’s a quick roundup of our delicious recipes for the barbecue (I recommend Anjou or Bosc pears):

Get to grillin’!

Fan of the Month: Monét F.

Meet Monét. This girl is awesome—her love for pears rivals even mine, which is why I’ve chosen her as our first Fan of the Month! Thanks for sharing the pear love, Monét!

What’s your favorite variety of USA Pears?
Bosc! [Of course—check out the pear in her creative collage!]

What’s your favorite recipe to make using USA Pears?
My favorite thing to make is a healthy salad. I will attempt to make some new recipes using USA Pears!

Why do you love USA Pears?
I love USA Pears because of my grandfather. He introduced me to pears when I was about 10 years old. I said, “Can I try that grandpa?”
He replied “Yes”.
Since then, I’ve been in love with my favorite fruit.

Is there anything else we should know about your love of pears?
I once did a school project on pears and received an A+!

We love Monét’s complete enthusiasm. She made the collage at top, including that adorable pear-themed outfit! Monét, we know Maryland is pretty far from Portland, OR, but if you’re ever in the area, look us up. We want to meet you!

Mint-Poached Bosc Pears

I’m visiting the markets in Mexico this week, and attended a recipe demonstration that is, coincidentally, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Ingredients

8 Bosc USA Pears, peeled, cored, and cut in half

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

1 teaspoon green food coloring

¼ cup mint liquor

Directions

Boil water in pot, add sugar and pears and cook for 15 minutes at a rapid boil.

Turn down heat and allow to cool.

Add food coloring and liquor, covering the pears. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Serve with chocolate sauce, if desired.

yield: Serves 4
preparation time: 25 minutes
difficulty: easy

Pear Almond Tart


“If you are in need of something to end a meal with a lot of ‘WOW’ factor, but don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen, this is the dessert for you,” says recipe creator Carol Kicinski. Bosc pears are a great choice for this tart, as they hold their shape when baked, and their honey-sweet flavor shines in combination with the almond paste.

Ingredients
Crust
1 cup superfine white rice flour
3 tablespoons potato starch
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
(Or substitute 1¼ cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour for the above ingredients)
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
Up to ½ cup ice cold water
Tart
1 8-ounce can Solo Almond Paste (not marzipan)
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 large eggs
3 large Bosc Pears
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon apple, pear, or red currant jelly, melted – optional

Directions
To make the crust:
Place the flour, starches, and xanthan gum (or all-purpose gluten-free flour) in the bowl of a food processor along with the salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks like coarse meal with a few larger pieces of butter in it. With the machine running, add the water, a little at a time, just until the dough starts to form a ball around the blades. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Gather the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Flatten the ball into a disk and refrigerate for an hour. Can be made several days ahead at this point and stored in the fridge. If refrigerated for more than an hour, remove the dough from the fridge about 10 minutes before rolling to let it soften a bit.

Spray a 10- or 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom lightly with gluten-free, non-stick cooking spray. Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap to about ¼-inch thickness and a little larger than your tart pan. Remove the top piece of paper and flip the dough into the tart pan then remove the other sheet of paper. Gently push the dough into the pan to fill it and remove any excess. If the dough splits, just push it back together. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the filling: Crumble the almond paste into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to break it up. Add the powdered sugar, melted butter, and eggs. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into the tart crust and smooth the top with a spatula.

Peel the pears, cut them in half and remove the core and the bottom end with a melon baller or paring knife. Lay each pear half flat on a cutting board, cut side down, and cut into ½-inch slices. Gently push the slices down with your hand to fan them out a bit. Slide a large spatula under the sliced pear half and place it on the filling with the top of the pear half facing the center of the tart. Repeat with remaining pear halves. Brush the pears with the lemon juice and sprinkle the granulated sugar on top.

Bake for 40–45 minutes or until the filling is set. Brush the tops of the pears with melted jelly if desired. Let cool in the tart pan, then remove the outer ring and serve.

yield: Serves 8–10.

A Healthy Relationship with Holidays

This year, my husband and I enjoyed Thanksgiving with close friends. We rented a house in the Colorado mountains, packed our car full of groceries and games, and headed into the snow for a much-needed vacation. I was particularly looking forward to unwinding and decompressing after a few stressful weeks at work. We decided on a local holiday instead of traveling to see family this year, mostly to avoid a tense event involving airports, security screenings, and general travel anxiety. No matter where a vacation takes me, as a dietitian, I still have misgivings about holiday celebrations; holiday eating in our culture is a very social event, and there is the expectation of gluttony. Even the promise of a relaxing holiday still causes me to stress!

Thanksgiving dinner was exceptional; I made a tasty cheesecake for the first time, our friend Jennifer made a delightful Bosc pear salad, and of course, we savored the meal for two days straight. (Who doesn’t love leftovers?!) After the indulgent feast, we took three rambunctious dogs for a long walk – mostly to help the humans digest – watched movies, and jibed each other during some friendly card games. It was a particularly special holiday for me; I was able to rest and relax among friends away from the worries of the workaday world. Holidays are always going to be holidays; there will always be some misgivings. But, no matter how we dress or undress the holiday or the meal, it’s really about the celebration of time spent with loved ones that lingers after the oven cools and the pie is devoured.

Pear Chips

After a recent USA Pears photo shoot, I brought pounds of Bosc pears home to my kitchen. Lucky me! I wanted to make something with them—something simple and healthy. After a little research, er, Googling, I settled on pear chips. They’re tasty, easy, and pretty!

Here’s how you can make them:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Using a mandoline (if you’re fortunate enough to own one) or a knife (if you’re not, like me), thinly slice pears into chips. I sliced mine both crosswise and lengthwise to keep things interesting. Bosc pears work well, with their dense flesh, but also take a bit longer to cook. Try any variety of USA Pears.

Place the slices on a Silpat mat or parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20-40 minutes, turning the chips halfway through. The baking time can vary greatly depending on the thickness of the slices, your oven, and the climate. Keep an eye on them—you want dry chips, but not burnt ones!

You can also sprinkle the chips with ground ginger, cinnamon, sugar, or other spices before baking. I tried a tray with cinnamon and one with both ginger and cinnamon. The cinnamon ones were my favorite!

Enjoy!

Pear Ghosts

Scary, I know…

To get into the spooky spirit, I decided to create some pear ghosts for Halloween. They were really simple to make, and they would be adorable as party centerpieces. They’d also make a sweet treat for your trick-or-treaters!

To make my Bosc pears ghostly, I whipped up some vanilla frosting. I learned how to make simple homemade frosting from my mom – put powdered sugar in a bowl with half a stick of softened butter, add some milk and vanilla extract, and whip it. I omitted the vanilla this time – I wanted bright white ghosts. You could also use candy coating or maybe white chocolate for an extra-decadent ghost.

Once the frosting was smooth, I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt it a bit. I stuck a wooden skewer into each pear (near the stem) and then dunked each pear into the bowl of frosting. I used a spatula to cover the pear with frosting and even out the coating.

Next, I melted some chocolate chips in the microwave and put the smooth, melted mixture into a small Zip-loc bag. I closed the bag and cut the tip off of one bottom corner. I used the baggie to make my ghosts’ eyes and mouths. Can you tell I started with the guy on the right and finished on the left? The first pear’s scream is more of a goatee. Oops.

I set them out to dry on a paper bag, and voila! Spooky yet sweet Halloween décor.

Boo.