What a lovely pear

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It’s been a bumper years for pears and I am thoroughly enjoying trying out lots of different pear recipes. My pear tree, bought for a tenner from Woolworths many years ago, has excelled itself, producing so many juicy fruits the branches are breaking. I should have thinned them out early in the season but I was a bit greedy and didn’t want to sacrifice any fruit. I won’t make that mistake again! In previous years I have picked the pears as and when they were needed, but this year I have had to harvest them by the bucket load. I don’t know what variety my pear tree is but I know they don’t store very well and as they are the most delicious pears on the planet they need to be preserved.                                                                                                                            IMG_4606 I love jamming, pickling and preserving at this time of year. Holed up in the kitchen, music on, pots and pans bubbling, you can’t beat it. However preserving pears is something I have avoided. This is because many preserving recipes describe the process as ‘canning’ and this conjures up images, in my mind, of tins and tinning machines, a soulless factory process. But when I discover ‘spiced pears in syrup’ and other such sensational titles I was hooked. Contrary to what I have previously believed, preserving pears in syrup is really easy. All you need is a selection of jars with lids, lemon juice, sugar, spices, water and lots of fresh pears. For details of how to make them see Sugar and Spice preserved pears in the recipe book above.                            

I have also been playing with some instant gratification dishes that involve pears and have discovered that custard is an absolute must for most of them. Pear frangipane cake made using The Ethicurean recipe was delicious warm with custard but, for some reason, the cake took two hours longer to cook than the recipe specified. Still, it was worth the wait. A much easier cakey recipe was my simple pear cake/pudding. Peel and slice a pear and form a layer at the bottom of a cake tin. Pour cake mixture {6 oz butter, 6 oz sugar, 6 oz self raising flour and 3 eggs all mixed together until light and fluffy} onto the pears and spread it evenly in in the tin. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 for approx. 20-25 minutes or until spongy and golden. Serve hot with custard or vanilla ice cream. You can vary this recipe by adding spices, nutmeg goes well as does cinnamon and star anise, it’s a recipe to be played with and enjoyed. Not quite the Great British Bake off but I’m sure Mary Berry would approve, although I can tell you now, this will have a soggy bottom, and a delicious one at that!

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