Pear Pie Recipes
Article by Warren
The Best Pears
to use in pies are:
Today’s Northwest pear varieties are similar to those first cultivated in France and Belgium. They were prized for their delicate flavor, buttery texture, and storage life.
Early colonists brought the first pear trees to America’s eastern settlements. The pear trees were brought west to California, Oregon and Washington by pioneers in the 1800’s. These trees thrived in conditions found in the Pacific Northwest.
The best pears to use in pies are:
Anjou (Red or Green), Bartletts (Red or Green), Bosc, Concorde, and Forelle.
Anjou pears are the second-most recognizable pear variety in the United States.
Anjous are a refreshing, sweet and juicy pear with a hint of citrus.
The Anjou is an all-purpose pear whose dense flesh makes it excellent for cooking.
Bartletts is the signature pear flavor.
Its creamy, sweet and aromatic flesh is perfect for dishes that call for apples.
Barletts pears are juicier than Anjous. So increase your pie filling thickening agent.
The story on Pear grit – being gritty:
Have you ever ate a pear that tasted like it had sand or was gritty? That grit texture in pears is called a stone cell, also known as sclereid. This is the same stuff that makes walnut shells and cherry pits hard. No wonder they feel like sand in the fruit.
Most fruit has them but pears seem to be more predominate with them. Most people do not like sand in their food.
So what can be done to make sure the pears you use do not contain these hard stone cells? All pears produce stone cells, but there are a few ways to get around them. The pears you buy in the grocery store have been bred to produce far fewer sclereids, stone cells.
To reduce grit, pick your pears before they are ripened on the tree. Tree ripened pears have more time to develop those awful stone cells. Also, choose pears at your market that are not ripe yet. Ripen them at home then you know for sure they were not on the tree too long.
Ripen pears in a controlled environment. This produces less grit. Keep your pears in a dark cool place. And please do not use overripened pears in your pies. They will taste mealy and be gritty.
Prevent Pear browning:
Pears that are peeled and left to sit will turn brown quickly. It is a form of oxidation just like iron will rust. This will give your pear pies a slight bloody taste and make the appearance unappealing.
To prevent this browning soak your pears immediately in some lemon juice or ascorbic acid.
Induce flavors into your pears by Macerate:
If you want to incorporate another flavor with your pears, try macerating them in the juices of your choice. To make citrus pear pie for example, the pears are macerated with lemon juice for 15 to 25 minutes. Save the juices, thicken the juice with some cornstarch, cook over a medium low heat and reincorporate it with the pears.
You can try this with any fruit or berry juice and liquors.
Avoid using overripened pears in your pie:
Unless you want pear mush. Overripened pears will release so much water when cooked that no thickening will hold it together. The fruit will be limped if it does not dissolve first in the cooking process.
It is best to use pears that are not quite ripened yet and still firm and solid but not hard. These pears will bake up perfectly in your pie. They will be soft but still have body to it, Al Dente.
Freeze pears for later use:
Use firm and solid pears for freezing.
Dissolve vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
in cold water to prevent browning
of sliced pears.
To freeze unsweetened pears, peeled, cut and cored pears soak them in ascorbic acid or citrus acid to prevent browning. Place slices on a cookie sheet until frozen solid. When frozen, remove and place in plastic freezer bags or freezer containers and freeze. This is good for most pies.
To freeze sweetened pears, peeled, cut and cored pears soak them in ascorbic acid or citrus acid to prevent browning. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to slices and mix until thoroughly coated. Pack your pear pie filling in freezer containers or bags, seal, and freeze. This is a smart idea to store your pear pie filling and to reduce the time it takes bake that next pear pie.
2 1/2 Pounds of pears for a 10 inch pie is:
- about four large pears or
- five to six medium pears
Pears do not store well after ripening.?? They need to be kept at a temperature of 30°F to 32°F and a relative humidity of 90 percent. Most common household refrigerators are warmer and have near zero percent humidity. This is not good for storing pears. If you are able to provide such conditions, your pears can be stored for approximately one to three months.
How to ripen pears:
Pears should be ripened in a controlled environment at a temperature of 60°F to 70°F. The ripening process should take 7 to 10 days. To quicken the ripening, place the fruit in a tightly sealed opaque plastic bag. Pears give off ethylene gas, which accumulates in the bag and quickens the ripening.
Peeling and coring pears:
This is easy with two simple tools, a corer and peeler. First core your pear with a good quality coring. It can be used for apples as well. Hold the pear by using the cored out holes on both ends while peeling. Use a serrated peeler. Please be careful. It will peel – cut – fingers too.
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