Pears are in season, and I’m always looking for tasty ways to serve them, so was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Ginger Pears. This is a recipe for canned pears with ginger. The sweet, warm, slightly peppery tang of the ginger added a new dimension to the pears, and turned what could be a mundane canned fruit into a taste treat.
Here’s the original recipe:
I assumed that “green ginger root” was just a more detailed term for ginger root.
2 ounces ginger root, peeled and very finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
juice from 2 lemons
Peel and core pears, then thinly slice. Put the pears in a bowl and cover with sugar; let sit for two hours. Put the pears, including any liquid in a Dutch oven or large pan; add lemon juice and chopped ginger root. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the pears are translucent and the syrup clear and thick (about 20 minutes). Periodically, gently stir while cooking.
Pack the pear slices and syrup into hot pint jars; fill to 1/4 inch of top. Wipe jar rim and put lid on. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Pears are a wonderful Fall fruit that often get overshadowed by apples, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Pears. The pear halves were easy to make and very tasty. The Baked Pears were coated with a buttery brown sugar sauce.
I was surprised how little sauce this recipe made – just enough to coat the pear halves. There was not enough to spoon extra over the pears when serving. I did not really miss the extra sauce, but extra sauce would have made a nice presentation.
Here’s the original recipe:
I skipped the whipped cream when I made this recipe.
8 pears (Use pears that are ripe, but still firm.)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the pears in half lengthwise, and then core the pears. Arrange the pear halves in a large baking dish (such as a lasagna dish or a rectangular cake pan). Sprinkle each pear (2 halves) with one tablespoon sugar, and dot each half with 2 or 3 small pieces of butter. Place in oven and bake until tender (about 30-35 minutes). Increase heat (425° F.) to lightly brown the pears. (The pears can be browned using the broiler, if a dish is used that can go under the broiler.)
Remove from oven. Best when served warm. If desired, serve with whipped cream.
Smaller versions of this recipe could easily be made. For each pear, just use a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a little butter.
Food presentation is an art. I occasionally see lovely food designs in hundred-year-old magazines that may not quite work a century later. Then again, maybe they do. As food fads wax and wane over time, these old presentations sometimes almost seem refreshingly cutting edge. Pear and Celery Salad definitely is dramatic, and is sure to be a conversation item at any party; however,I have mixed feelings about whether it is a fun but quirky recipe, or just a bit odd.
The Pear and Celery Salad is placed on a bed of celery leaves, which creates a beautiful foundation for the salad. Celery slices are heaped into a large mound in the center of the plate, and then surrounded by canned pear halves (poached fresh pear halves would also work well). The mounded celery is topped with a mayonnaise, chili sauce, and nut dressing.
This recipe definitely turned out better than I thought it might. The tender pears melted in my mouth and their delicate flavor was nicely balanced by the crunchy celery and nuts. The dressing reminded me a little of French salad dressing, except that it was nutty instead of smooth. The dressing worked well with the celery – and was intriguing with the pears.
approximately 2 1/2 cups celery, cut into 1/2 – inch slices
1 29-ounce can of pear halves, drained
To make the dressing, place the mayonnaise and chili sauce in a small bowl; stir until combined. Add nuts, and stir. Set aside.
Arrange celery leaves on serving plate, then place the sliced celery in a pile in the center of the plate. Surround the heaped celery with the pear halves which are stood on their edge. Gently spoon the dressing on top of the celery. There may be more dressing than needed. Reserve and extra dressing and serve separately.