Monday, September 29, 2008

Enjoying Autumn's Bounty

My favorite kind of cooking happens when I notice something on the counter that's on the verge. And there's too much to finish before it goes bad, and so you transform it into something that will keep. Something delicious, with ingredients already in the kitchen.

I had such an opportunity this weekend while visiting my dad. He had a bucket of pears from a church friend's tree. The pears were perfectly shaped with a greenish brown skin yielding only occasionally to brown spots. To the touch however they were squishy and far past crisp. Pears just so happen to be my favorite food. And I wasn't about to let these pears go to waste. So I made pear butter.

When tasted fresh the mealy brown parts of pears lack texture, are overly sweet, and hint at rotten. In butter, these are perfect, their highly developed sugars adding flavor and complexity. Fortunately Dad's pears were full of these types of spots. After careful peeling and coring so as not to lose these mushy nuggets of flavor, the pears went on the stove. I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and some maple syrup then reduced it. After an hour or so, reduced to about and eighth of what it had been the pear butter was ready. Sweet, flavorful, with a subtle richness. What better for a fall breakfast?

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