The year after my father passed away his beloved pear tree had a banner year. Tons of big beautiful pears were produced and we were able to harvest them before the local raccoons could. We said at the time “all those years, hardly producing a decent pear, and NOW it decides to be amazing!” Wish he could have seen it. For the next 5 years it went back to its rather anemic performance – producing small, pitted pears- in small amounts.
This year my mother passed away and of course the tree put on a show stopping performance – huge, blemish free pears and TONS of them. Wish she could have seen it.
If that isn’t the universe speaking in some way I don’t know what is.
So of course I felt the need to harvest the pears – making some baked goods right away and cooking some down to pear sauce and freezing for another use well into the winter. So much like my blueberry inheritance I could enjoy a little of my pear inheritance for a while longer.
The first thing that came to mind to make with these amazing pears was of course coffee cake! Wouldn’t that be your “go to” baked goodie too?
I’m no baker so I just bought a quality box mix for coffee cake (complete with streusel mix) and added sliced pears, brown sugar and melted butter to the bottom of the glass baking dish before mixing up and adding my coffee cake mix according to package instructions. Just be sure to slice the fruit fairly thin so it will definitely get soft in the baking process.
Like many savory cooks – I am not a baker. So what was I doing baking recently on yet another rainy day?
Well I had a sweet tooth and I am fairly lazy – so going to the store was out of the question. (Did I mention I live in a large, urban area with a giant name-brand grocery store a few blocks away from my house?) I like to think I was doing my part to keep the carbon foot-print down. Or maybe I was just challenging myself with the ingredients I had on hand.
Or maybe I was just trying to clean out the freezer.
Last summer when local raspberries and blackberries were on sale and abundant I cooked down a bunch, added a little cornstarch and froze for another day. I originally had visions of some kind of fruit tart/turnover but really any baked good would do.
So with a little help from Betty I whipped up a coffee cake recipe. Instead of the usual cinnamon streusel topping -I decided to improvise.
After about 20 mins in the oven – I took it out and spread the thickened berry syrup on top. Than just to “gild the lily” I sprinkled on some sweetened coconut flakes I had lurking in my fridge. (I am sorry the day I discovered these little gems at the store – yum!!) I could have swirled it into the batter from the beginning but I was afraid to swirl. Being an inexperienced baker, I wasn’t sure if this would be a success, so I decided not to risk it.
Back into the oven for 10-15 mins, time to cool a bit and my sweet tooth was satisfied!