Saturday, January 9, 2010

Harvest Pear Crisp and Vanilla Ice Cream

We had some more of those amazing pears from Harry and David. They're Comice Pears and much too large to fit into the gift boxes  -- such a shame! Turns out that the brand name of Royal Riviera Pears from Harry and David are in fact just "perfect" Comice Pears. So now you too know the secret, when you see Comice Pears, buy them - they're amazing. The key I learned some time ago about pears is that they need to sit out at room temperature about a week before they are ready to eat. You'll know they're ripe when the top of the pear, near the stem, feels like the meaty part of web of your hand between your thumb and index finger. When they feel about the same, the pears are perfect for eating.

In search of something to do with the 5 monster pears that were perfectly ripe on our countertop, I came across a recipe from Sandie at Inn Cuisine for a Harvest Pear Crisp. Her recipe is as follows:

Harvest Pear Crisp

Fruit Mixture
4 Anjou or Bartlett pears, cored and cut lengthwise in 1/2 inch slices (peeled or not peeled, your preference) 1 Tbs lemon juice (to prevent pear slices from browning)
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Crisp Mixture
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs chilled butter, cut into small pats
1/2 cup oats (quick cooking or old fashioned, your preference)
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F for baking.
  2. Combine sliced pears in lemon juice. In small bowl, thoroughly combine cornstarch, cinnamon, and granulated sugar. Add to pear slices, mix together, place in a greased 8×8 inch baking dish, and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, mix flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, whirring until combined. Add butter; pulse in 6 times. Add oats and chopped nuts; pulse 2 more times. Sprinkle this mixture over pear slices already in baking dish.
  4. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for approximately 40-43 minutes, or until done.
Servings: 4
Since I had 5 huge pears, I doubled the recipe and put it into at 13x9 pan. Those pears were so juicey that I'm confident that cornstarch was a necessary component -- I just hope it was enough! As promised the smell of cinnamon and pears baking permeated the whole house and made our mouths water.

And the taste...cinnamon, pear goodness that simply must be served with vanilla ice cream, so I found a quick No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream recipe, surpised myself by actually having all the ingredients on hand and whipped up a batch to go with it. The recipe is as follows:

No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
12 ounces evaporated milk
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole milk
  1. Whisk all ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher or large bowl until blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes. 
  2. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-quart electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.) 
  3. Remove container with ice cream from ice-cream maker, and place in freezer 15 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container; freeze until firm, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
The results -- cinnamon, pear, oat crisps, and vanilla ice cream melting all through it -- perfection!

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