Best Recipes In America: Pear Pie and Salad

Pears are a popular fall fruit, but we can find them in supermarkets all year long.
Pears are a popular fall fruit, but we can find them in supermarkets all year long. | Source

Fruits of Childhood

While I was growing up, we often had apples in the house. When they were in season, we had some oranges and we often had bananas. Having survived the Great Depression, my parents often served cut up oranges and bananas sprinkled with sugar. Reading about this dish in a Ray Bradbury novel recently brought back those memories.

Today, I would really not sprinkle sugar on fresh fruit; but I thing the oranges and bananas were comfort food. Many Christmases during the Depression, children received an orange in their Christmas Stockings. I think that's the connection.

African Cucumber (not a pear)

(photos this page public domain)
(photos this page public domain)
The Pear.
The Pear.

Nowadays, with global connections, we see fruits of all sorts in the markets and grocery stores during all 12 months of the year. I remember when Star Trek Voyager® first aired on television - the ship's galley included a bowl of "alien" fruits on the counter. These fruits were simply those that some Americans had not yet seen in their grocery shopping experiences - star fruit and African cucumber (a spiny yellow melon). Now, we see them all.

One thing I recall about childhood is the flavor of pears, which we had once in a while, They were large green pears and quite mild in flavor - better than apples, I thought. But they spoiled quickly - squishier than canned pears.

It turns out that the pear is a cousin to the apple, so the similarity in flavor makes sense - it's one of degree, I think. This makes me wonder that since alligator fritters take like mild sausage to nme, does this mean that the alligator is related to the pig?

Of course, there is also the alligator pear (actually, the avocado, another favorite).

At any rate, the pears in the groceries of my youth were marked only as "Pears", but they were Anjous.

The pear may be substituted for the apple in a pie.
The pear may be substituted for the apple in a pie. | Source

My First Pear Pie

The summer I turned 18, I had just graduated from high school with few cooking skills; but I thought, “If apple pies are good, why not pear pies?”

People I asked about this told me that they had never heard of a pear pie, so threfore, a pear pie could not be good. I begged to differ. Besides, what they asserted was illogical. The fact that we have not heard of something or someone is not proof that that entity does not exists. I ask you - isn't that a law of physics? It is in my world.

I substituted pears into an apple pie recipe of old and found the results very likable - a wonderful slightly spicy aroma and a good-looking pie, soft light golden brown. It makes me hungry just to think about it. Most folks would not try it. They still said they’d never heard of a pear pie and just looked at me funny. That was OK – more for me. Now pear pie seems a delicacy, but not unknown in the world where people get acquainted with things and people they do not know.


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 4 Cups of fresh Pears after they are sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, (cloves, but that is optional) and a pinch of salt These days, sometimes I use just the allspice and nutmeg - 1 tsp each.
  • Recipe for 2 unbaked pie crusts, one of them in the pie pan.
  • Small amount of milk and a pastry brush.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F.
  • Mix together flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, & salt. Add sugar and mix.
  • Add pears to the dry ingredients & mix until coated.
  • Scoop the pear mixture into one crust.
  • Melt margarine or butter and drizzle over the top.
  • Cover with second crust, crimp edges, and brush the top with some milk.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake until crust is golden brown and pears are done. If the pie browns too quickly, cover the top with an aluminum foil tent.

White cheeses are good with pears in a salad.
White cheeses are good with pears in a salad.

Cheese-Pear-Walnut Salad

Serves 4

I like the crunch of this pear salad very much - crunchy pears, crunchy celery, and crunch Iceberg lettuce. for less crunch I use mixed salad greens, which also provides more color with purple and reddish leaves. The white Cheddar cheese makes a nice sharper taste and texture contrast, as do the walnuts. English walnuts, when used, provide a different flavor yet. You might also want to shave some carrots over the salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Anjou or Barlett Pears, ripe but firm - washed and sliced (retain peel)
  • 2 ribs of celery, sliced up
  • 1 head of Iceberg lettuce, or 1 bag of mixed salad lettuces
  • 3/4 Cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1.2 Cup white Cheddar cheese cubes
  • Dressing:

DRESSING

  • 1 Cup olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Shake dressing ingredients together in a tightly-lidded jar until sugar is dissolved and sit in refrigerator to meld flavors. You can also make the dressing a day ahead of time.
  • Toast walnuts - Bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 375 degrees F for 3-4 minutes. You can also do this in a hot frying pan on the stove top, but walnuts burn easily and baking is less hazardous is this regard.
  • Tear lettuce into small pieces and arrange in salad bowls.
  • Arrange pear slices over the salad greens in each bowl.
  • Sprinkle walnuts over the pears.
  • Sprinkle cheese cubes on top of walnuts.
  • Remove dressing from refrigerator, shake well, and pour over salads. Keep remaining dressing in the refrigerator; you can also make the dressing the night before.

 

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Pear blossoms in spring.
Source
Pear blossoms in spring.
Pear blossoms in spring. | Source

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Comments & Favorites 21 comments

Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast

Wow I would have never thought of a pear pie but it does sound absolutely delicious! Great idea.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

The pie sounds good-- the salad, even better. We have a grafted pear tree with three varieties. It is not a big producer, but last year I had enough of the small little ones to can a few small jars. They are very sweet. If we have enough this fall, I want to try these recipes-- especially the salad.

Thanks for sharing.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Triplet Mom - I think a lot of folks have never thought of pear pie. Don't know why it occurred to me the first time - probably logic just starting to develop in late adolesence. But it's a delicious pie!

Rochelle - You are the first person I know to have a grafted pear tree. I have only seen catalogue pictures of them before. The salad is one of my favorites and with home grown pears - delightful. Thanks for commenting.

.


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Enjoyed your hub, Patty. I make pear tarts all the time, with a creamy custard on the bottom and an apricot glaze over the top. I posted a recipe on my hubpage for Pears in White Zinfindel. They're really delicious. Take a look:

http://hubpages.com/food/httpwwwhubpagescomPearsin...


easy1 7 years ago

your making me hungry.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Hi Patty. The old Dutch bloke over the road from me (that's him in the the photo on my tobacco hub) is a very keen gardener, as you may have guessed. He has a small pear tree , kept that way by pruning, carrying six varieties of pear. He used a nashi as root stock and grafted five other varieties to it. It's a prolific fruiter over a period of a couple of months, one section after another. It has two or three branches of each variety. When I was talking with him a few minutes ago he told me that he intended to prune out one variety that is a bad keeper and replace it with yet another type, which he already has growing on quince rootstock.

As I get gifted a fair amountof pears your pie recipe is ending up on my save list, for next year.

Cheers.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

The Old Firm - You live in a paradise -- real things growing - fruit, tobacco, interesting surroundings and neighbors... It's been so long since I've seen a fruit tree with fruit that I'm not sure they truly exit here. That's quite something to have 6 varieties of pear on one tree. Extraordinary.

A couple of friends had a peach tree by the side of their house and only one year did it every produce peaches - the size of grapefruit, then never again. the recipe is not bad with fresh peaches as well.

Nice to have you visit. I hope you like your pies.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Interesting. I never heard of the African pear before. The pear pie sounds good.


Leo Christie 7 years ago

Hi Patty:Your articles are always very interesting and as tastety as the different species of the pear.Of course why is it that you think I'm following you?

I follow you everyway -back into your childhood, because I too have fond memeories of a great childhood with pear and other fruits mentioned.

I will continue to follow you on whatever subject you write and for the very way in which you pitch you subject.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Leo - that is certianly high praise. I hope I can live up to it - have been collecting recipes ever since I was 14. :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

I just tried these recipes again and found a couple of Pear Festivals to attend in the spring. I can't wait!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

I have always preferred pears to apples and would love the pear pie. How do people think recipes come about? New recipes are created every day and not just by well known chefs. Mostly it's the housewife or someone like you (an unsuspecting teen) who create these dishes. As a Cook/Personal chef I have created dishes no one has ever heard of......

I still put sugar on some of my fruit...can't help it...especially grapefruit.

That African cucumber looks a lot like pomegranate on the inside and Noni on the outside.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

I have some other pear pie recipes I'll share soon. But, pear pie is so delicate I could eat the whole pie at once, so I place it out of sight.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

You've reminded me that my husband's favorite is pear preserves so I need to get some good ones this season, however, now I want PIE! :) Thanks for the info and great recipes.


jboland profile image

jboland 5 years ago from Chico, CA

Wow, I love a ripe pear every once in a while... sometimes the grainy texture disturbs me though. That pear-cheese salad sounds delicious right now, however.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

The Otahiti Apple is Jamaica's apple and a little more delicate than the pear. The last time I made a pie I didn't get any. I left it in the oven and when I returned it was all gone. I didn't even get some of the crumbs.

Please, do share some of the other recipes soon....pretty please with cherry on top...lol


AutumnJo profile image

AutumnJo 5 years ago from WI(Formerly IL, formerly PA)

These sound wonderful! I'm going to have to try them! Thanks for sharing.


lee custodio profile image

lee custodio 5 years ago

yumm!


World-Traveler profile image

World-Traveler 5 years ago from USA

My first pie was a flop. It turned into flopitis got all mixing togther when it cooking in the oven. OK, thata was the misstake I now realize.

The dirctions said conventional oven and I stuck in th microwave oven.

Probable was a futile effort to get the pie cooked. We had run out of wood for fire stove. Still tasted good although it was more like a banana pie milkshake. Heh, that give me a new idea for a receipt!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Pie is my favorite dessert and pears can be incredibly refreshing.

Pear preserves, I must try soon. I think graininess goes away in the cooking in most recipes.

Recipes are often found by accident - Coca Cola or Pepsi was an accident, I can't recall which one. Ice cream cone was accident at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 - soggy ice cream sandwich got rolled up.

But, some things I put in the microwave still just BOUNCE! lol


AUPADHYAY profile image

AUPADHYAY 5 years ago from INDIA, UTTAR PRADESH STATE, KANPUR CITY

What a delicious hub written. A mouth watering article always attract me. Thanks

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