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Flaming pears, pear soup ... start with a can opener.

Flaming pears, pear soup . . . start with a can opener

When cooking with pears, poaching the fruit is often the first step. But if you start with canned pears, you save not only a step, but time, too, as these three recipes illustrate.

The first is a luxurious thick, smooth soup of pureed pears and parsnips; the balance of sweet with earthiness proves winning.

Pears make gelato to enjoy by itself, or as a more dramatic finale served with warm slices of the same fruit and doused with flaming anise-flavor Pernod.

Pear and Parsnip Soup with Toast

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine

1 large onion, chopped

3 medium-size (about 1 1/4 lb. total) parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks

4 1/2 cups regular-strength chicken broth

About 1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice and white pepper

2 cans (1 lb. each) pear halves in juice or light syrup, drained (reserve liquid for other uses)

Herb-spice toast (recipe follows)

1/2 cup whipping cream, optional

Melt butter in a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and stir occasionally until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add parsnips, broth, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and pepper; cover and bring to a boil on high heat; reduce heat and boil gently until parsnips are tender when pierced, 15 to 20 minutes.

In a blender, whirl soup and pears a portion at a time. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days.) Return to pan and stir over medium heat until hot. Accompany with toast. Stir cream into individual portions and dust lightly with allspice. Serves 8.

Herb-spice toast. Mix 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar.

Trim crusts from 6 slices sourdough bread (each about 4 by 5 in., 1/2 in. thick); cut each slice into 3 triangles. Place in a 10- by 15-inch baking pan and broil 4 inches from heat until toasted. Turn over, spread with butter mixture, and broil until toasted. Serve hot. Makes 18.

Pear and Pernod Gelato

3 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

3 thinly pared strips lemon peel (each 1 1/2 in.), yellow part only

6 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon anise extract

1/4 cup anise-flavor liquor (such as Pernod)

2 cans (1 lb. each) pear halves in juice or light syrup, drained (reserve liquid)

In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine milk, sugar, and lemon peel. Stir over medium heat until milk is scalding. In a bowl, whisk 1 cup milk into yolks, then whisk egg mixture into pan. Stir over medium-low heat until custard coats back of a metal spoon in a smooth, thin layer, 10 to 12 minutes; discard peel. Stir in anise extract and liquor; cool, cover, chill.

In a blender or food processor, whirl pears with 1/3 cup of reserved liquid until smoothly pureed. Stir into chilled custard.

Pour mixture into container of an ice cream maker (self-refrigerated, or use 1 part salt to 8 parts ice) and freeze as manufacturer directs. When dasher will no longer rotate, remove lid and dasher, cover gelato with plastic wrap, top with lid, and freeze until firm, 6 hours to 3 weeks. Makes 1 1/2 quarts, 6 to 8 servings.

Warm Buttered Pears with Gelato

Drain 1 can (1 lb.) pear halves in juice or light syrup (reserve liquid for other uses) and cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Melt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine in an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Add fruit; turn gently until hot.

Divide pears among 4 dessert plates. Scoop frozen pear and Pernod gelato (recipe precedes) to make 12 balls (each about 1/4 cup); put 3 of the balls on each dessert plate.

Heat 1/2 cup anise-flavor liquor (such as Pernod) in a 1 1/2- to 2-cup pan over medium-high heat. At the table, ignite liquor in pan and ladle it, flaming, with a long-handled spoon onto each dessert. Makes 4 servings.

Photo: Spoon flaming anise liquor over warm pear slices and frozen pear gelato-- it's laced with the same spirit

Photo: Smooth, mellow pear and parsnip soup with buttery herb toast makes an elegant starter
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Feb 1, 1988
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