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A Wealth of Recipes Featuring Fresh Pears : Delicious Fruit Can Play a Prominent Role in Dishes Ranging From Baked Goods to Entrees

July 14, 1988

Pears had their origin centuries ago in middle Asia. By the 9th Century BC, Greeks were cultivating the fruit and heralding pears as a gift of the gods. Conquering Roman legions transported the fruit back to their homeland and Western Europe.

Pears crossed the Atlantic almost 150 years before the American Revolution. In the late 1790s, John Carter of Boston planted a delicate, yellow variety that had originally been found growing wild in England.

The Bartlett Pear

When the estate went to Enoch Bartlett in 1817, he gave the pears his own name. Eventually the Pacific Coast climate and soil was recognized as ideal for growing these pears. Today more than two-thirds of all pears harvested in the United States each year are Bartlett pears grown in California, Oregon and Washington.

The fresh pears are available through October. Supermarket displays may range in color from just-picked green to ripe yellow. The pears are harvested while the skin is still green because they don't ripen properly on the tree.

Ripening Can Be Hastened

If you want fruit to eat immediately, select bright-yellow pears which yield to gentle palm pressure. Green pears may be ripened in a few days by placing them in a ripening bowl or closed paper bag at room temperature.

Store ripened pears in the refrigerator and serve slightly chilled. Or use the fruit in recipes, from baked goods to entrees.

PUMPKIN-PEAR BREAD

1 large pear

3 1/3 cups unsifted flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2/3 cup oil

4 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Peel and core pear. Finely chop to measure about 1 cup. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger.

Beat oil, eggs and sugar together until mixture is light. Add pumpkin and beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture, then pears and walnuts.

Divide batter evenly between 2 greased and floured 8x4-inch loaf pans. Bake on low rack of oven at 350 degrees 55 to 70 minutes or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool. Makes 2 loaves.

CRUMBLE-TOP PEAR PUDDING

3 pears

Butter

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Peel, halve and core pears. Cut each half lengthwise in two. Place in buttered shallow baking dish. Beat egg with sour cream, vanilla, almond extract and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Spoon sour cream mixture over pears and bake at 350 degrees 15 minutes.

Meanwhile mix 1/4 cup brown sugar, flour, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with pastry blender until butter is well divided and mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over partially baked pudding. Bake 20 minutes longer. Makes 6 servings.

FLUTED PEAR CAKE

2 pears

2 cups sifted flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Peel, halve and core pears. Mash enough to make 1 cup puree. Sift flour with baking powder, salt, ginger and mace.

Cream shortening with sugar, then beat in eggs and lemon peel. Add pear puree alternately with flour mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Mix in pecans.

Turn into greased and floured 3-quart tall mold. Bake at 350 degrees 1 hour or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 25 minutes in mold, then invert and cool on rack. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

MAPLE BAKED PEARS

AND PORK CHOPS

6 loin pork chops, cut 3/4-inch thick

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sage

2 pears

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups hot water

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Parsley

Rub pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and sage. Brown slowly in hot skillet. Place in shallow baking dish. Core and slice pears, but do not peel. Arrange slices on top of pork chops.

Blend cornstarch into fat dripping in skillet. Gradually stir in hot water and cook until thickened. Add syrup, vinegar and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Pour sauce over pork chops and pears.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour or until pork chops are tender. Garnish with parsley. Makes 6 servings.

CURRIED PEARS AND LAMB

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons oil

1 pound boneless lamb, cut in 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chicken broth

2 pears

Cooked rice

Nuts, toasted coconut, chutney, sliced green onions

Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add lamb and brown on all sides. Blend in flour, tomato paste, curry powder, paprika, ginger, chili powder, sugar and salt. Gradually add chicken broth. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Core and slice pears, but do not peel. Add to meat and cook 15 minutes longer. Serve with hot rice and choice of nuts, coconut, chutney and sliced green onions. Makes 4 servings.

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