In January of 1999, Apple released its iconic series of candy colored pear shaped iMacs. A poster displayed the five candy colored iMacs with just the slogan “Yum”. Apple might as well have called these iMacs pear colored or pear Macs (pear Apples?) because of the sheer variety of colors of pears.
The different flavors and aromas of pears make them useful for a variety of purposes. In fact, pears have so many different uses–appetizers, salads, pizzas, stuffing, chutneys, desserts–that an entire menu could revolve around them. The menu could simply be called Yum.
Since the different breeds of pears have very different flavors and aromas, make sure to find the right pear to go with your recipe. To get the perfect pear, stop in at El Cerrito Natural Groceries to get an amazing assortment of pears. If your looking for help finding the right pear and can’t make a decision after reading my notes, send me a message and I’ll try to give you some pointers.
A classic all around pear. Does really well with tarts and cakes. I tried it out in a salad with blue cheese and it didn’t work out so well. However, I do like to slice Bartletts, put them on a bed of baked sweet potatoes, top them a dash of sour cream mixed with lemon curd, and then garnish them with cilantro.
One of the most common and easy to find pears, it does well with general use. I like to use the bosc for chutneys. The chutney can focus on the sweet notes of cinnamon and nutmeg or focus on spicy notes by adding ginger and red pepper flakes.
D’Anjou have a moist and tender flesh if allowed to ripen. Bring to room temperature to really enjoy their gentle tartness–not as tart as a granny smith, so they’re great for eating straight. The aroma seems to have a hint of butternut squash. Maybe I’ll try it out with a butternut squash soup.
The firm fleshed Forelle seems to have a hint of banana–not a real banana but that super floral imitation banana used in banana pudding. My nose told me to make a rum butter sauce, but, since my nose almost always tells me to make a rum butter sauce, I poached in red wine with sugar and cinnamon. After letting it cool and set, I mixed the wine with cream then spooned it over the pear. Tasted freakin’ great, but I wonder how to bring out the Forelle’s unique aroma.
Red Star Crimson
This pear has wonderful floral notes in the aroma. Don’t let the mottled brown color fool you, these pears taste so wonderful I want to sit down and eat a bag of them. Like the Warren, they go well with parmesan and have a lovely creamy texture. I quickly made a little brown sugar, rum and lemon sauce then put the pears and rum sauce over waffles. Fabulous.
The warren pear feels incredibly creamy in the mouth when ripe. I buy as many as I can at the store and then hoard them. Goes really well with Roaring Forties blue cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Let this pear ripen in the refrigerator for a week or two. In the San Francisco Bay Area, farmer’s harvest these pears in early autumn but keep them in cold storage, so by mid-December or January, they may be ready to eat the day you buy them.
The Ya-Li has a kind of wet crispness–I say that the pear felt wet because moist implies a softer texture. Eating this pear straight provided a pleasant experience for snacking. It didn’t go well with the cheeses I tried. Just stick it in a bag with your a sandwich for lunch or pop it into a salad where you’re looking for a little crisp snap.