Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ginger Pear

Last week I tried out a recipe for steamed or stewed pears from Grandma VandenBergh's old Dutch cookbook. This week I was curious to know whether my other grandmother had ever prepared a similar fruit concoction. Sure enough, in Minnie's handwritten notebook, there were not one but two recipes for pears cooked in a similar fashion. However, these instructions appeared to be for larger quantities of fruit, which I suspected were intended to be canned and consumed as a sort of pear sauce something like applesauce.

Minnie's pear recipes
This type of dessert must have been a popular one around the early part of the twentieth century, for Minnie to find and copy two variations on pears stewed with ginger. The two recipes are quite similar; each calls for eight pounds of pears and an enormous quantity of sugar, as well as ginger and lemon.

Rather than experiment with an entire eight pounds of pears, I tried out the ginger pear recipe with a smaller amount of fruit, and reduced the quantities as listed below:

Ginger Pear

- 2 ripe pears, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- juice of 1/4 lemon
- water to cover the pears halfway
- 1/4 teaspoon (powdered) ginger

I simmered the pears in the water for about an hour, at which point they began to turn pinkish, as in last week's recipe. Serving the pears in the syrup produced by this method of preparation made an attractive dessert, but I didn't like the flavor as much as in the old Dutch recipe. The ginger gave the fruit a sharper taste than in last week's experiment. But either recipe makes a refreshing summer dessert, with or without the ginger, as you prefer.

Ginger Pear

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