Dads cooking with pears may seem like something out of a badly written Hallmark movie, but in reality pears offer a great taste and texture that few other fruits possess. While many people prefer to use apples for cooking, the pear is actually a very fitting alternative. You can pretty much substitute pears in any recipe that calls for apples. Also, don’t forget that pears are pretty awesome as a standalone, but there are a few tips and tricks you should know.
The Right Pear for the Job
Much like there are many different types of apples out there, there are many types of pears as well, and each has its own flavor and texture. Anjous have a mild flavor and are much firmer than other pears. Bartletts are super juicy and are great in pies. Bosc pears are crisp with a sweet flavor. Asian pears are actually crunchy and have a very understated flavor. Comice pears lack the grainy texture associated with most pears. French Butter and Seckel pears need to be absolutely ripe or else it’s not going to be a good experience. You’re going to want to match the flavor of the pear with what you’re cooking. Pears with mild flavors are best as additives, but the sweeter pears are best as the primary ingredient.
Cooking with Pears
Pears are basically sorted into two cooking categories. Pears that keep their shape and those that don’t. If you’re looking to poach a full pear or use large pear pieces in desserts and other dishes, then you’ll want to use the varieties that keep their shape such as Bosc and Anjou. If you’re looking for pears for preserves and sauces, then you’ll want the varieties that fall apart when cooked, such as Bartlett. A great idea for pear pies is a mix of both. You’ll get the juice and flavors of the Bartlett along with the texture of the Bosc. A nice tip for keeping cut pears from browning is to put them in water mixed with lemon juice.
Knowing When a Pear Is Ripe
Pears are fruits that usually ripen after they are bought. They are picked when they are mature, but ripen from the inside out. The best way to check to see if a pear is ripe is to take a look at the neck. While the hardness varies by pear type, placing pressure on the neck should allow for some give. If the neck is stiff, then leave it at room temperature to ripen.
For more information about dads cooking with pears, visit dadsthatcook.com and learn about all aspects of cooking and get a few recipes.