Pears

Pear & Prosciutto Tartine

Arrange thin slices of Camembert on thick slices of country bread and place under a griller until the cheese is melted.

Top with pear slices and thinly sliced prosciutto. Cut chives into 2.5 cm pieces and sprinkle on top.

Honey-Roasted Pears

Halve and core Beurre Bosc pears. Warm equal parts butter and honey and drizzle over pears. Top with thyme sprigs and a sprinkle of sea salt flakes.

Roast at 230°C until tender. Serve with lightly sweetened ricotta or crème fraîche.

Flatbread with Pears & Prosciutto

Brush pizza dough with olive oil. Top with pear slices, caramelised onions and crumbled goat’s cheese.

Bake on a pizza stone at 260°C until crust is crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.

Top with thinly sliced prosciutto and rocket and drizzle with olive oil.

Pears Poached In Riesling

Combine 1 bottle Riesling and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Add 4 peeled, cored pears and water to cover. Top pears with a parchment paper round and weigh down with a plate.

Simmer until pears are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with Greek yoghurt drizzled with honey.

Sautéed Pear Salad with Blue Cheese

Whisk together sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Sauté pear slices in melted butter until just tender.

Toss frisée, endive or mixed greens with vinaigrette, toasted pecans and crumbled blue cheese; top with sautéed pears.

Pears Foster

In a sauté pan, melt 1 part butter with 2 parts brown sugar.

Add peeled, sliced pears and cook until soft. If desired, add a splash of rum and ignite.

Serve pears and sauce on their own or with vanilla ice cream.

Availability

Pears are at their peak during the cooler months starting in autumn.

Selecting

Pears are picked when mature but still hard, rather than when they are ripe. This prevents them from becoming too granular and soft. Look for smooth, unblemished fruits with their stems still attached. They should be fragrant and just beginning to soften near the stem. They must be left at room temperature to soften and sweeten and are ready to eat when they wrinkle a little at the stem and are slightly soft at the blossom end. Pears are also available dried and canned in light sugar syrup or in fruit juice.

Preparing

Pears can be left unpeeled for eating fresh, but be sure to peel them before cooking. Although the peel is edible, some fruits may have tough skins with a slightly bitter flavor that is accentuated when cooked. When cutting pears for salads or hors d’oeuvres, halve them lengthwise, then scoop out the core with a small spoon or melon baller. Like cut apples, cut pears should be tossed with a little lemon juice to prevent discolouring.

Storing

Handle pears gently, for they bruise easily. Leave them at room temperature for a few days to ripen. Pears are notorious for having an extremely brief period of ripeness between being still too hard to eat and heading toward spoiling. They can be refrigerated in plastic bags for 3 to 5 days, depending on their degree of ripeness, but for the best flavour, be sure to bring them back to room temperature before eating. Because of their delicate texture, pears do not freeze well.