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A Place for Pears


story by ELIAS GROUHI
photography by CARSON DOWNING
food styling by CHARLES WORTHINGTON
prop styling by SCOTT J. JOHNSON

Signs of the season changing are all around us—the proof is in the pear. What was a source of summer refreshment now finds its place as a complement for comforting fall dishes from down-home desserts to pork chops and pasta.

“Pairing” Down the Varieties

ANJOU—Available in red or green, Anjou pears are sweet, juicy, mild, and versatile enough for virtually any dish.

ASIAN—Crunchy and sweet, Asian pears look and feel much like apples, making them a welcome textural element in salads.

BARTLETT—Drip-down-your-chin juicy, Bartletts pack sweet flavor but lose form with heat. Look no further when making pear sauce or pear butter.

BOSC—These soft-yet-grainy pears are aromatic, crisp when raw, and hold their shape in cooked or baked dishes.

COMICE—Comice pears are sweeter and less grainy than other varietals. Their flavor and crispness make them ideal for any charcuterie board.

SECKEL—Small, chubby, and sweet, Seckel pears are usually considered to be dessert pears. They are great for both snacking and cooking.


Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

prep: 20 minutes

cook: 25 minutes

makes: 8 servings

ingredients

caramel-pecan pear topping

½ cup packed brown sugar

6 Tbsp. butter, cut up

3 Tbsp. heavy cream

1 Tbsp. light-color corn syrup

2 cups sliced fresh pears

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

½ tsp. vanilla

cinnamon roll pancakes

3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. kosher salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 ½ cups buttermilk

½ cup butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

instructions

1. For topping, combine brown sugar, butter, cream, and corn syrup in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to boiling over medium-high, stirring to dissolve sugar and melt butter. Reduce heat to medium. Boil at a moderate steady rate, uncovered, 5 minutes (do not stir). Remove from heat. Stir in pears, pecans, and vanilla. Set aside while making pancakes.

2. For pancakes, combine 3 cups of the flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture; stir just until combined (mixture may be a little lumpy).

3. Combine 3/4 cup of the batter, the remaining 1/4 cup flour, the brown sugar, and cinnamon in a quart-size resealable plastic bag. Seal bag and knead until mixture is combined. Snip one corner of the plastic bag to make a small (1/4-inch) hole.

4. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle. Squeeze a swirl of cinnamon mixture onto each pancake. Cook over medium about 2 minutes per side or until pancakes are golden brown, flipping over when surfaces are bubbly and edges are slightly dry. Serve warm, swirled side up, with Caramel-Pecan Pear Topping.

Pear-Pancetta Ravioli

prep: 45 minutes

rest: 40 minutes

cook: 25 minutes

makes: 6 servings

ingredients

2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. fine sea salt

4 eggs

1 cup whole-milk ricotta

½ cup grated fresh pear, patted dry

½ cup slivered fresh spinach

¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

¼ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

4 oz. chopped pancetta

¼ cup butter

½ cup finely chopped shallots

1 pear, cored and thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage or very small sage leaves

Parmesan cheese shavings (optional)

instructions

1. Mix together flour and sea salt on a clean work surface. Form mixture into a mound and create a well in the center. Crack eggs into the well. Using a fork, gently begin to beat the eggs, mixing in a small amount of flour with each stroke. (Preserve the well by using your nonbeating hand to build up the flour around the edge as you beat.) As the dough begins to thicken and most of the flour has been added, start to stir the dough. When the dough can no longer be stirred, use your hands to mix in remaining flour. Transfer dough to a generously floured surface and knead about 10 minutes or until firm and elastic. Generously dust dough with flour, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, for filling, in a bowl stir together the next six ingredients (through pepper).

3. Work with one-fourth of the dough at a time, leaving remaining dough covered to keep from drying out. Flatten dough portion and generously dust with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out on a generously floured surface into a rectangle about 1 /16 inch thick or until you can see your hand underneath the sheet of dough. (If using a pasta machine, pass each portion through the machine according to manufacturer’s directions until dough is 1/16 inch thick, dusting dough with flour as needed.)

4. To shape ravioli, cut rolled dough into 4-inch-wide strips. Brush strips lightly with water. Drop a generous 1/2 tsp. filling at 1-inch intervals lengthwise down one half of the dough strip. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling mounds to cover. Using your fingers, press the dough around each mound of filling so dough pieces stick together. Cut dough between mounds to make individual ravioli. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Transfer formed ravioli to a generously floured surface and let rest 10 minutes before cooking. Cook ravioli in a large amount of boiling lightly salted water about 7 minutes or until tender. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water and drain ravioli well. Return ravioli to pan and drizzle with a little olive oil to keep from sticking together.

5. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a large skillet over medium until crisp, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add butter and shallots to drippings in skillet. Cook about 15 minutes or until butter turns golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add pear slices and cook 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove pear slices.

6. Add butter mixture, sage, and ⅓ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to ravioli in pan; toss gently to combine. Add more cooking water if needed to moisten. Top ravioli with pear slices, pancetta, and, if desired, Parmesan.

This story was adapted from the story, A Place for Pears, for digital from the fall issue of Magnolia Journal.

Copyright Meredith Corporation