With names such as Beurré Bosc, Corella Forelle, Josephine de Malines, Packham’s Triumph, Red Anjou, Red Sensation , Williams’ Bon Chretien and Winter Nelis, Australian pear varieties sound more like minor European royals than fruit names. (Winter Nelis is also known as a honey pear).
Autumn heralds the start of the pear season, which runs from now until early summer – although the season for lesser seen varieties such as Red Sensation and Williams’ Bon Chretien has already been and gone. Winter is a great time to cook pears – or serve it fresh and crisp in a salad to remind you of warmer days.
These recipes come from the Rediscover the Pear website, which is full of great recipes and tips.
Gratin of potato, pear and blue cheese
By David Bitton
2 Beurré Bosc pears peeled and finely sliced (do this at the last minute)
2 large desiree potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
4 tbsp butter softened
1 small brown onion, finely sliced
100g blue cheese
1 cup pouring cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch cayenne pepper
6 slices gruyere cheese
Salt and pepper
A little extra butter for brushing
Bunch wild rocket
3 tbsp Bitton Gourmet lemon dressing (or other good quality salad dressing)
Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
Brush the inside of 6 individual ramekins with butter then rub over the inside surface with a cut piece of raw garlic. Set aside until required.
To construct the gratin, begin with a small dollop of butter, then a layer of potato, followed by a layer of Beurré Bosc pear, season lightly, add a few slices of onion, then some small pieces of the blue cheese. Continue to layer in this order, finishing with whatever layer you happen to reach the top of the ramekin with.
Place a small saucepan over a medium high heat and add the pouring cream, garlic and cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil then top each gratin with 2 tablespoons of the cream mixture before covering the top with a slice of gruyere cheese.
Place the ramekins onto a flat baking tray and into the pre heated oven for 20 minutes. Turn the heat up to 200°C and cook for a few minutes further until the top is nice and golden.
Remove the tray from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving with the wild rocket drizzled with the lemon dressing.
Salt-Roasted Pork with Fennel and Pear Salad
1 x 300 g pork fillet, trimmed
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, plus extra, for brushing
1 teaspoon each sea salt flakes and fennel seeds
Cracked black pepper
2 Williams’ Bon Chrétien pears, thickly sliced
200 g celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
1 baby fennel, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon hot English mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Brush the pork with oil. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat and cook the pork for 1–2 minutes on each side or until browned.
Place the salt and fennel in a mortar and pestle and grind to combine. Press pork into the salt mixture, place on baking tray and roast for 10–12 minutes or until cooked through.
Place the pear, celeriac and fennel in a bowl. Place the remaining oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Pour over the pear mixture and toss to coat.
Slice the pork and serve with the salad.
Pear and Vanilla Cakes
2 litres water
2 2⁄3 cups (370 g) caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
12 x 125 g Beurré Bosc pears, peeled and cored
125 g butter, softened
2⁄3 cup (150 g) caster sugar
1¼ cups (190 g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (125 ml) milk
Place the water, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the pears, cover with a round of non-stick baking baking paper and a lid, and cook for 25–30 minutes or until tender.
Drain on absorbent paper, set aside and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8–10 minutes or until pale and creamy.
Gradually add the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the flour and milk.
Line 12 x 1 cup (250ml) capacity muffin tins with paper cases and spoon ¼ cup (60ml) of the mixture into each case.
Carefully push in the pears and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
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