Posted on May 29, 2017
Nothing compares to a perfectly ripe pear. Their taste and juiciness will seduce you. Wonderfully versatile, pears work well with sweet and savoury flavours.
Pears are harvested when mature yet still frim. Before eating, fruit should be ripened at room temperature. Ripe pears yield to gentle pressure at the stem end. For cooking, its best to use semi-ripe pears as it retains its shape better.
You may be familiar with a few pear varieties, but let us introduce you to the most popular curvaceous, luscious pears and a few delicious ways to enjoy them.
So versatile pears can be baked, poached, stewed, roasted, tossed through warm salads or simply eaten when ripe.
Previously known as the Bartlett pear, the Williams has a smooth white juicy flesh with a sweet flavour. It is small than the Packham pear and ripens in 1-3 days at room temperature, changing from a light green to a clear yellow when fully ripe. Available January to April.
A flavoursome pear with juicy white flesh, the Packham is available in a range of sizes. The smaller, snack-sized pears are ideal for school lunchboxes. The green skin turns a paler shade with ripening. Available April to December.
This dense white-fleshed pear is small to medium in size and has a delicate pink blush. It’s crisp and slices easily making it the ideal addition to cheese platters and a range of salads. It’s also a great pear for a lunchbox. Available March to September.
The elegant cinnamon brown-skinned Beurre Bosc is one of the best pears for cooking. Choose slightly under-ripe fruit and you’ll be rewarded with a superior result. Its cooked flesh is sweet and deliciously tender. Available March to October.
A versatile squat and shiny green pear that can be eaten while crisp and crunchy or fully ripe and rich tasting. The Josephine variety has sweet and juicy flesh. Available April to July.
Roasted pears with Florentine cream
Preparation 20 mins | Cooking 45 mins | Serves 6
1 cup water
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
6 firm Beurre Bosc pears
300ml thickened cream
1 tbs icing sugar
150g Florentine biscuits*, roughly chopped
*Buy Florentine biscuits at bakeries and some supermarkets. Size varies – it’s about 3-4 biscuits.
Step 1: Combine water, sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Peel, halve and core pears. Arrange in a single layer in a large baking dish. Pour hot sugar syrup over pears. Cover with foil, seal edges and bake, turning once, for 35-40 minutes until tender. Remove pears from oven, uncover and set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Transfer the syrup to a jug.
Step 3: Place cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Swirl through chopped biscuits. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve pears with Florentine cream and drizzle with the syrup.
Good For you
A good source of dietary fibre that helps keep us regular.
Provide vitamin C. Among its many functions, vitamin C contributes to collagen which plays a role in healthy gums, teeth, bones, cartilage and skin.
Low GI (less than 55) which means the natural sugars in apples are slowly digested to glucose
Choose firm, plump fruit which has a characteristic colour for their variety. Ripened pears deteriorate quickly, so eat or use promptly.
Ripen pears at room temperature for 3-7 days. Store ripe pears in the refrigerator and use as soon as possible.
Pears are available all year round. Heaviest supplies are April to August.