I think pears are annoying. Lovely, but annoying. They sit around in the fruit bowl looking all delicious and they’re never ripe. Then, when one is ready to eat the rest immediately go ripe too and then you have to eat them all at once. Well I’m not standing for it any longer, I decided that I would use the pears while they are under ripe so I can enjoy them while waiting for the others to ripen. The word ripe has lost all meaning. These mini toffee pear pies are made from surprisingly few ingredients (if you buy readymade pastry) and are just perfect for celebrating the pear in all its I’m-never-quite-ready-ok-now-I’m-too-ready glory.
This is only my second pavlova. To me, meringue has always been steeped in mystery and wonder and I found it slightly intimidating. Crispy on the outside, gooey in the middle; is this all really achievable with just two ingredients? Well yes, turns out it is. My two attempts I couldn’t have been more pleased with; previously a summer berry version and this time my Blackberry and Pear Pavlova (which also happens to be all organic) and the pudding portion of my #thriftyorganic challenge.
You will need (all ingredients organic):
Parkin is a traditional cake eaten on Bonfire Night so I made some a few days before the picnic as I had heard it is a cake better left before eating. This would be the perfect accompaniment to the warm gooey pears.
You will need:2 firm pears 1 bottle Elderberry wine 100g sugar
Start by putting the wine and sugar into a pan and bring it to a simmer. While you wait for the wine to warm peel the pears and cut the bottom off so that they will stand up when cooked. When the wine is simmering add the pears and leave for 20-30 minutes or until soft when tested with a skewer.
Remove the pears when they’re soft and then turn the heat up on the wine. Boil the wine until it has reduced to a thin syrup. Depending on the ferocity of your flame and how much evaporated while the pears were cooking this can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Bear with it though and don’t give in to impatience; pears in wine soup would I’m sure be delicious but it’s not quite what you’re after. Serve the pears with their syrup.
You will need:Large handful damsons, stones removed 3 unripe pears Sugar 250g plain flour 125g cold butter A few spoons of cold water 1 beaten egg
Put the damsons into a pan with a spoonful of sugar and a little water and heat them gently so they start to soften. While they are cooking, peel and dice the pears and then add them to the damsons. You want to keep them on a heat where the fruit makes gentle pfft pfft noises as it cooks, lid on, for about 20 minutes. You might need to add a little more water if the fruit starts to catch. After 20 minutes give the fruit a little squidge with a masher to puree it a little, keep a few lumps though. Taste it and add more sugar if you think it needs it. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, you don’t want much moisture left in the pan.