February 2, 2012

A Perfect Pear

"It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption."
~Edward Bunyard, 'The Anatomy of Dessert'

The Maine House has the most beautiful setting in our little New England Village. I first laid eyes on our new home in the month of October. Now you ask, what could be more beautiful in Maine than October, when the cornstalks, pumpkins and scarecrows line the village and are tucked into porches all over the town? Well, spring is pretty spectacular. Keep in mind, Texas has very little color. Darling and I grew up in Mississippi where the azaleas, dogwoods, camellias and magnolias greet you by April. The colors and the air of the south in spring is simply breathtaking. While living in the Lone Star state, we struggled to keep any color blooming or at least thriving during those long hot days of spring and summer. In fact, there is not really a spring in Texas...seasons jump from winter to summer with very little glimpse of those beautiful spring-like days. I lost track of how many bulbs I planted which never appeared in that hard clay-like dirt. Needless to say, it was a weekly surprise to find out what was going to bloom in our Maine gardens our first spring and summer. Each week something new would greet us as we strolled through the gardens. When the peonies bloomed, I knew it was a gift as they were Mother's favorite flower. Our pear tree was a delight to discover! I never want to forget the beauty of spring at The Maine House. These are some of my favorite photo's of our little pear tree in spring and summer.....oh how we shall miss you......
Ice Crystals in Winter
Beautiful Spring Blossoms

The Maine House in May...Pear Blossoms

Up Close and Personal

Summer's Day

Cooking with Pears

Caramel Pear Crisp
6 cups sliced and peeled ripe pears
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg

1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Caramel Sauce
1/2 (11 oz) bag caramel bits
1/4 c. milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine pears and lemon juice. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to pear's a stir gently. Let stand for 15 minutes. Pour into a 9" x 13" baking dish. In a bowl, combine butter, oats, flour, sugar and nuts. Sprinkle over pears. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 35 minutes. In a saucepan over low heat, melt caramels with milk. Stir until smooth. Drizzle caramel sauce over warm crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!!

Pear Galette
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons pear brandy 
2 to 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 10 by 3 by 1 1⁄2-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.
Beat the eggs and the 1⁄3 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, salt, and pear brandy. Set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel, quarter, core, and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar, and creme fraiche.


  1. You will miss Maine, but you know the way there so it will be for vacations! I foolishly planted azaleas and impatiens all around our South Texas pool that first summer. They cooked just like an apple pie in the oven! Our dear neighbors, native Texans by the way, told me.. "Darlin' nothin' grows in Hell!" We learned the things that did thrive and for the time we lived there it was tropical plants that became my favorites! Still remember the joy of setting out on the Riverwalk this time of year sipping a drink (o:

  2. This is too funny Granny Mtn.! Yes, so incredibly hot in Tejas....begonias do well as do Tropical Hibiscus....looking forward to it! Love that saying.....we should cross stitch that on a pillow perhaps!

    Thank you SR...lovely to have you visit and comment...much appreciated!


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