Pears pair so well with other ingredients.
With rum in today's recipe for pear-batter cake. With molasses, cinnamon and cloves in spicy pear cookies. With cheese and golden raisins in salad of pears and Gouda.
To create a quick, easy and memorable appetizer: Slice a few juicy pears, fan them out on a serving tray, then add a generous piece of Gorgonzola cheese and the contents of a can of smoked almonds.
Provide cheese spreaders and plenty of napkins, letting diners help themselves to this winsome combination of sweet, salty and smoky flavors.
The following recipe is from "Cooking of Southwest France" by Paula Wolfert.
Makes 6 servings
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 pears, peeled, cored, sliced
1/3 cup powdered sugar
Sift flour and salt together. Stir into eggs. Add half of milk and beat until smooth. Stir in remaining milk and rum. Beat well. Pour through mesh strainer and let stand for 1 hour (if longer, place in refrigerator).
One hour before serving, butter a 9-inch cake pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Pour in batter, scatter sliced pears on top and dot with butter. Place on lowest rack of oven and bake in 450-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 400, bake 30 minutes or until puffed and brown.
Slide onto serving dish. Sprinkle lavishly with powdered sugar. Serve immediately while warm.
Spicy pear cookies
Makes 5 dozen
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 3/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups finely diced, peeled fresh pears
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
$ 1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons half-and-half
For cookie dough, cream together shortening, brown sugar, egg and molasses until fluffy. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Alternately add flour mixture and pears to creamed mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in walnuts and raisins.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake in 350-degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire racks. Frost, if you wish, when cool.
For frosting, heat butter with brown sugar until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar, salt and half-and-half and stir. Frosting will be thick. Spread a small amount on each cookie. Do not overwork frosting when spreading or it will become dry and crumbly.