Being pear shaped can be good or bad depending on your “situation”; if you had Oprah Winfrey’s pear shaped body and corresponding access to a super amazing wardrobe & a personal trained AND private chef then it is a wonderful thing to be pear shaped. If on the other hand you’re pear shaped, stand at 6 foot 9 inches and are permanently domiciled in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland then well, you’re not in such great shape (pun intended).
I bid thee glad tidings as today’s post has nothing to do with the persistent, pesky body shape matter or remote towns with no retail therapy prospects.
Let’s take a good look at the fruit; juicy, sometimes crunchy, some times mushy but always delicious – the pear. It is not a fruit that is indigenous to West Africa but it is widely available regardless, in most shops and even open markets. As a child I marveled at its mildly sweet grainy texture and wondered if the fruit was some sort of sibling to the apple which I equally loved (please don’t try to rationalize this ?)
I have rarely incorporated pears in my meal preparations; seeing as I am usually too preoccupied with eating the, I am sure you appreciate why this is. But recently I have applied them to two dishes; a starter and a dessert and let me tell you! It’s a winner! A surprise winner at that!!
I present to you a vertical pear salad and pear tartlet; a perfect way to start and end a meal if you ask me.?
I can not take the glory for the idea of this salad; I was inspired by a recipe on Pinterest from this blog and essentially, this is my version.
Ingredients (To serve 4)
4 medium – large not-so-ripe pears ( I prefer my pears with a slight crunch to them)
200 g creme fraiche
4 tablespoons runny honey
1 pack of fresh rocket aka arugula (rinsed and patted dry)
1 teaspoon Olive oil
1/2 cup pecans
1 Lemon (juice)
I made this starter last December on Christmas Day and our friends were delighted by it. It’s a must try especially if you’re trying to impress ?
The ‘How To’
Fear not! Be still and know that I will guide you through this. No, we are not building the tower of Pisa and yes, it is likey to topple over, as my first attempt did. Please study the picture below, it crashed shortly after the picture was taken. There are no words to express the frustartion I felt; I mean it was still delicious in a messy non-gourmet kinda way……….So basically, you want a squat, sturdy pear, not a long lean one. Also you don’t want too many sections in each pear. Ok, so moving swiftly along.
Obviously, you need to rinse and dry your fruits. Then carefully slice them horizontally; I would advocate for no more than 3 to 4 sections for each pear depending on the size and this includes the bottom and top bit. Ensure that your pear will stay balanced on a flat plate and if it seems slightly wobbly then carefully slice a thin sliver off the bottom to create a flat surface at the bottom (we don’t want a delicious messy non-gourmet starter, remember?). Now brush some lemon juice on the cut surfaces to prevent browning. Next, core the pear slices so that you end up with doughnutty type slices ie pear slices with a hole in the middle. You can achieve this with a paring knife or if you are like Inspector a Gadget and I then you will have one of those apple coring devices that we never really use ; NOW is a fab time to whip it out.
It helps to keep each sliced and cored pear together so that when you assemble it it mainagunas it’s natural shape.
Ok, now place your creme fraiche and olive oil in a bowl and with a fork or hand whisk, whisk it vigorously until well combined. The creme fraiche should still be a bit thick but lose enough to coat the pecans easily. You may opt to toast your pecans before tossing them into your creme fraiche; I couldn’t be bothered because I sweaty anxious mess with 4 hungry people at the table quickly losing their Festive cheer!
Place aragula (you won’t need the entire pack so measure out maybe two handfuls) in a bowl and empty the creme fraiche mixture on it. Now with your hands carefully toss the salad.
Now comes the fun part, assuming you’re still keen to proceed.? Basically place the bottom part of the pear on your serving platter, take some of the arugula mixture and carefully mount it on the middle of the slice. Place the next slice on it, pressing down slightly, top with more salad and repeat till you get to the top. Then drizzle each stacked pear with honey. This will not only and an amazing glazy finish to your salad bit will also counter the tartness of the creme fraiche.
Say a prayer or two as you walk gingerly to the table with your awesome creation. When I appeared at the table, all Christmas grinchiness lifted as everyone whipped out their camera phones to take documentary evidence of what they were about to inhale!
All hubby had to do was step away from the table for a second and our youngest swooped right in to help himself! Lol! ? As you can see, he’s a demolition expert and wasted no time in knocking it over! This time though it was ok?
You will recall my recent infatuation with apple rose tarts. If you don’t, please get acquainted here.
Well, I have since scaled down these yummy tarts and now make them as tartlets! Evidence below.
It is the exact same recipe as the one here but this time they are made in muffin pans so that you end up with the most adorable delectable treat.
Essentially when you follow the recipe, at the point where you roll out the dough, using a circlular cutter that is at least 1/2 wider than the muffin bowl, cut out circles of the dough, place in the muffin tin and follow through as you would if you where making a whole tart.
This recipe is so easy, I even have my dear friend, Maria, all the way in Denmark making it! She sent this delightful picture to me! It is officially a global movement!!
Anyway, getting back on track, it didn’t take long before I wondered if I could sub the apples for pears and there was only one way to find out! Thankfully, I had just made some apple tartlets and had left over dough and lemon curd in the fridge so making these took no time at all.
All I did was bake the crust, filled with lemon curd and made the pear roses or should we call them proses? ?I am witty aren’t I?? and guess what? This time, I kept the pears fresh! Yep! Didn’t cook them or bake them! Just spritz with lemon juice to keep the colour nice and fresh looking.
The down side, is that they will not be sitting around forever (as if something this beautiful and delish should sit around forever!!! Perish the thought!!) but the upside is that it gives you a legitimate reason to polish it off promto!! Which is exactly what the boys and I did! They were back from school, and they were hungry…..can you see where this is going? Needless to say that was their dinner! They loved it! Washed down with some juice and they were happy little campers!
Please don’t judge me? I mean who says that dessert cannot be a main course?
And thus ends my tale of two pear recipes. I hope you enjoyed it ?
PS: Ittoqqortoormiit is an actual place. But please don’t ask me to pronounce it! ? Emmmmm, Maria, some help please! Educate us!
FFF Tip of the Day
If you decide to try the pear tartlets, it would be ideal to use pears that are just ripe enough to have lost their crunch but not so ripe that they are mushy. It’s a fine line I know ? but so worth it if you get it right!