Why Set Pears Upon Those Riverbanks?
by William Fields
36.000 x 24.000 inches
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Why Set Pears Upon Those Riverbanks?
Photograph - Photograph
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set the pear upon those river banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
From the poem Recuerdo by Edna Saint Vincent Millay
When I got these pears home, I baked a Creole Pear Tatin. It was wonderful and here is the recipe:
A recipe for a Creole Pear Tatin
1/4 cup chestnut or other intense honey
4-6 (depending on the size) seckel, bosc or any other pears cored and cut into wedges
They should be on the hard side, not soft and ripe. The slices should be thin enough to create a pinwheel effect on the pan but not so thin that they can�t be handled while cooking.
3 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
1 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, I throw in a squeeze or two of the juice as well
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus good quality vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup sliced almonds.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a 9-inch cast iron skillet, simmer honey until it begins to reduce, caramelize and darken in color, 6 to 10 minutes. In my black iron skillet the color isn�t that obvious but I know it�s ready when it begins to bubble all over the pan. Do not let honey burn; if it starts to smell burned, turn off heat.
Arrange pears, close together and cut-side down, in a circular pattern in skillet, stem ends pointing toward center (a pinwheel). Simmer over medium heat, turning them from one cut side to the other, until they begin to turn golden, about 5 minutes each side, 10 minutes total.
Scatter thyme sprigs if using over the pears.
Transfer skillet to oven and roast, uncovered, until very tender, about 25 minutes
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together sugar and lemon zest (and lemon juice). Whisk in eggs and vanilla.
Fold in flour and salt; stir in 1/2 cup butter.
Remove skillet from oven, discard thyme sprigs and brush edges of pears with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter.
Pour batter on roasted pears and scatter almonds over batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cake cool for 30 minutes in pan. Run an offset spatula along edges of pan to loosen cake; carefully invert cake onto a serving platter. Serve warm or cooled.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
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October 21st, 2012
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