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And Pear Season Begins

Tuesday, 04 August 2020 20:33
And Pear Season Begins Photo: USA Pears.org

By Dan Clarke

Your editor was struck by the photo of this week’s recipe, the Roasted Pear Crumble with Honey Yogurt.  Sometimes a picture just “speaks to you.”

This was one of those times.  We found the photo and recipe at the website of USA Pears, which represents pear growers in the Pacific Northwest. With a little investigation, we found that Washington and Oregon account for 88% of the pears grown in the U.S., most of the balance coming from California.

Taste Washington Travel hasn’t tested the recipe yet, as it’s still a little early in the pear season. The comments accompanying the recipe indicate that Anjou pears are indicated and that the recipe is particularly appropriate for the chill of autumn and winter. We won’t contest that latter point, but that doesn’t mean that this dish wouldn’t also taste pretty good on a warm day in August. Anjous ripen a bit later, but Bartlett variety pears will be available very soon and we think that they would also work well with this treatment.

Though no chef, I did work with one some years ago when inspecting some of those 10-12% of the nation’s pears that were produced in California. My colleagues and I actually held federal and state licenses to do such work. The workdays were long, hot and boring. While waiting for trucks to come into the inspection station, my chef pal and I began trading recipe ideas for these pears. He had worked in restaurant kitchens for over a decade and needed a break from that life. Another inspector had just sold her travel business and was preparing to enter law school. We were an eclectic lot.

The former chef brought flavors from his Asian ethnicity to our discussion of theoretical pear recipes. Though neither of us had any Hispanic heritage, we both brought in some influences from all sorts of chiles—I think serranos were the most frequently mentioned. When the pear inspection season waned, I tried some of the ideas we talked about.  My recollection is that most dishes turned out OK—maybe some of them even good enough to make for company. We proved that the pear was more versatile than just the fruit we’d found in our school lunch boxes. But back to our Pear Crumble recipe—we’re sure it will be tasty and would be pleased to hear the comments of those of you who try it.

 

Roasted Pear Crumble with Honey Yogurt

Pre: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4

 

Whether served for breakfast or even dessert, this simple dish balances the warm sweetness of roasted pears and honey with creamy yogurt. It can be eaten any time of year, but it feels especially appropriate during autumn and winter when the flavors complement toasty days spent curled up on the couch or celebrating the holidays with loved ones. 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
  • 2 tablespoons whole-wheat (or white) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 2 firm but ripe USA Anjou pears, halved and cored
  • 2/3 cup yogurt

Directions

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, almonds, flour, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of both the honey and olive oil. Stir to combine until everything looks wet and clumpy.

4. Arrange the pears with cut sides up in a square baking dish. Drizzle the pears with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oi and rub it in to coat all sides. Loosely top each pear with some of the crumble mixture, dividing it evenly.

5. Bake until the pears are tender when pierced with a fork and the topping is brown and crisp, 30 to 35 minutes.

6. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1 tablespoon honey into the yogurt. Spoon the yogurt into 4 shallow bowls and place the warm pears on top.

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 August 2020 20:53
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