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Upgrade Pizza with Pears for a Fast Meal or Elegant Appetizer

Pick up a couple of pears from the San Juan Capistrano Downtown Farmers' Market to begin a pear or pizza adventure where easy is the main ingredient.

There’s more than one way to peel a pear—so to speak. Whether the pizza is made from scratch or semi-homemade, as Sandra Lee does on the Food Channel, adding pears as a topping is creative and easy. 

The super easy part—er, semi-homemade part—is derived from a frozen tart sold at Trader Joe’s: Tarte d’ Alsace, a French-style flat bread with ham, caramelized onions and Gruyère cheese for $4.39. Slice pears with mandolin to achieve paper-thin slices. Bake the store-bought flat bread per package instructions. Add the pear slices to the “pizza” halfway through baking, and voilà! For a crispier crust, give the flat bread an extra one to two minutes on a pizza or baking stone.

The most well-known pear in California is the Bartlett. The California Pear Advisory Board suggests some quick ideas for the use of the 100-calorie pear. Among the ideas are the Pear Nutty Toast Topper (hot toasted wheat bread spread with peanut butter and topped with fresh Bartlett pear slices), Wrapped Pears (pear wedges with slices of cheese and salami or luncheon meats for a snack) or Pear and Nut Pizzas (Fill pre-baked pizza crusts with chopped fresh Bartlett pears mixed with chopped nuts, brown sugar and nutmeg. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, about 15 minutes.)

According to the USA Pears, a medium pear contains 6 grams of fiber and is a good source of vitamin C.  There are 10 varieties of pears.  In addition to Bartlett, pears include Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Seckel and Starkrimson.  The best varieties to use for heated recipes are the firmer pears: Bosc, Anjou and Concorde.

USA Pears notes that pears are among the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree.  They are harvested when mature but not ripe.  To ripen pears, “leave firm, unripe pears at room temperature ... once the pear is ripe, it can be refrigerated to slow the ripening process and saved for use up to five days.” Do not refrigerate an unripe pear, since it needs to ripen at room temperature.

Let the pear/pizza adventure begin:

Savory Pear Pizza

This quick and easy recipe does not use a traditional sauce, letting the juicy pears bring a sweet balance to the parmesan and prosciutto’s saltier flavors. Using a prepared pizza crust makes this an effortless meal or a beautiful and savory appetizer. From USA Pears.

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared pizza dough crust (such as Boboli)
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 3 ounces chopped prosciutto
  • 1 red Anjou, cored and thinly sliced

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Spread olive oil and garlic over the pizza crust. Top with cheese, prosciutto and pear slices. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Slice and serve. Preparation time: 20 minutes. Serves 6

Braised Pears with Soy-Ginger Glaze

(from USA Pears)

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs grated fresh ginger root
  • ½ cup packed golden brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 firm but ripe Bartlett or Bosc, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored
  • 2 tbs unseasoned rice vinegar

Directions

In a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the soy sauce, ginger, sugar and cayenne pepper. Stir until the sugar is melted and the ingredients are well combined and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the pears, cut side down, and simmer, basting frequently, until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pears to a microwave-safe serving dish.

Bring the liquid in the pan back to a slow boil and add the vinegar. Simmer the sauce until it is thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the pears and serve immediately or set aside until ready to serve. If needed, reheat in the microwave just before serving. Serves 4

This dish can be made 1 to 2 days before serving. Refrigerate in a covered container and reheat prior to serving. Serve with grilled pork tenderloin or chops. It would also be delicious with roast or grilled chicken.

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