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Ingredient of the week: pears

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19 NOVEMBER 2009

November is the time for that Autumnal favourite fruit, the pear. They have been cultivated by many peoples, including the Chinese some 3000 years ago and also the Romans who chose not to eat them raw – one of the earliest cookbooks has a recipe for what is essentially a pear soufflé.

Perry, the alcoholic drink similar to cider but made with pears, is now widely available in most supermarkets – but it is worth going to your local farmer’s market or farm shop to find a less mass-produced version. Perry is great for cooking – try roasting pork with perry in the tin which will flavour the meat and give you delicious gravy.

Pears are great for both sweet and savoury dishes – a pear tatin makes a delicious dessert, while raw, peeled and sliced they are unbeatable in a salad with some shaved pecorino, walnuts and watercress. Pear crumble can be a little on the sweet side – balance it with some bramley apples and serve with a grown up bitter caramel ice cream.

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