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Brian Moriarty
10-30-2007, 11:45 PM
I've got two different Asian Pear trees in my yard that are really producing, like zuchinni's, you just can't get rid of enough of them. I tried baking a few on the WSM at 350* for 60 minutes and they were still quite firm. Does anyone have any suggestions?

David Lohrentz
10-31-2007, 05:21 AM
Asian pear are not commonly used in baking as far as I know as they are too sweet and don't soften much as you noted. Ovens were not common in the part of the world where they were cultivated, so baking characteristics were not part of the equation.

There are ways to use them in cooking, but most of those ideas won't help you deal with a bumper crop. I recently used diced carmelized asian pear in a scallop mousse sausage that I made, but you would need to do a huge batch to use 3-4 asian pears.

If I lived nearby, I'd volunteer to come take some off your hands, but a road trip from Wisconsin isn't in the cards.

K Kruger
10-31-2007, 06:38 AM
Asian pears aren't commonly baked/roasted as David notes. They're structure makes it more challenging; it's possible though. You'll need to prep them some, and it's best if you use a pan, starting out with it covered, as this helps creat the necessary environment (moist heat) that will allow them to cook more effectively.

Stem and core the pears. You can leave them whole or for faster cooking quarter them (or quarter them but don't cut all the way through the bottoms--so that they open like a flower).

Place the pears in a pan and add a little water. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven or grill at 350-375 till the pears start to become tender, usually 20-30 min, depending on cooktemp and cultivar. Remove the foil and allow to continue to cook till tender, or remove the foil, add spices and/or aromatics and/or sugar, butter, etc., and continue to cook till tender. (Note that some or all of these items can be placed in the pan at the outset, along with the water.)

Maybe you can sell me some! A new Akubra from David Morgan (http://www.davidmorgan.com/) is in the cards. I hope to get by there on Saturday.

I like Asian pear sauteed/caramelized, as David mentions. I also like them vary much as the sweetener for marinades, especially for beef. (Mentioned here. (http://tvwbb.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/6680069052/m/4430027734?r=7030067734#7030067734)) And I also like them peeled, diced small, and added to a gently simmering dashi in which shrimp have been cooked, moments before finishing with white miso, ginger juice and scallions.

They are rare in little ol' Okeechobee. If available, or if I've brought them home from a trip, I'll use them fresh (in salads, chutneys, salsas and braises, in addition to those noted), but store excess by making bases for mrinades and freezing them after vac-packing. To do this, I peel and grate the pears into a bowl then divide it in half (because I don't always want soy in the marinadees I make). In one bowl I moisten the grated pear well with soy and rice wine; in te other I moisten well with rice vinegar. I then vac-pack in roughly 3/4-1 c amounts and freeze. These for the base for marinades or dressings in the future.

Just a thought.