BY DANA JACOBI
FOR THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RESEARCH
As more and more supermarkets
sell produce grown on both sides of the equator, many of us have
forgotten what it means to eat whats in season.
I have resisted this trend, preferring to wait until summer for
cherries rather than buying Chilean ones in December. I also
wait for the late summer appearance of locally grown pears.
This year, however, a pear
from New Zealand shook my seasonally correct resolve. In May,
I started seeing heaping displays of Taylors Gold pears
at local grocers. At $3.99 a pound, just one of these hefty pears,
with skin brown as a Bosc, would cost over two dollars. But the
produce manager, whom I trust, assured me that the Taylors
were super juicy, sweet and spicy tasting, so I succumbed. The
one I bought was delicious, but such a budget-buster that I did
not buy another one.
Happily, the pears from upstate
New York are now abundant in my area. The Bartletts are so butter-soft
and aromatic, with a hint of lemon in their flavor, that they
are like eating essence of pear. I hope pears from the Pacific
Northwest and elsewhere around the country are turning out to
be as delicious.
To enjoy this underserved fruit
more frequently, I combine several in a salad with watercress,
diced turkey breast and red onion rings, topped with blue cheese
dressing. Making pear butter is another option, although peeling
and pureeing the pears, then cooking the puree down, can get
messy. Still, this fat-free fruit spread will keep for a couple
of months, sealed in glass jars in the refrigerator.
I also enjoy this pear crumble.
Eating it feels virtuous because pears contain so much fiber.
When there are leftovers, I have them, topped with yogurt, for
breakfast in the morning, smiling at the idea of serving oatmeal
with fruit in what feels like a naughty way.
Crumble - Makes 10
- 6 Bartlett pears, peeled,
cored and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar,
- 1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut
in small pieces and chilled
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled
oats, not quick-cooking or instant
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
In a large mixing bowl, toss
the pears with the cranberries, maple syrup, nutmeg and lemon
juice until the fruit is coated evenly. Transfer the pears to
a 7 x 11-inch baking dish.
In another bowl, whisk together
the two flours, the sugar, cinnamon and salt to combine them.
Work in the butter, using a pastry cutter or a fork. When the
mixture resembles wet sand, mix in the oats. Sprinkle the topping
over the pears and using your fingers, pat it firmly into an
Bake the crumble for 40-45
minutes, until the topping is brown at the edges and golden beige
in the center of the pan. (This crumble does not brown on top,
but a light browning can be achieved if the top is lightly coated
with canola oil spray about halfway through the baking process.)
Cool the crumble on a rack. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
The crumble should be served the day it is made.
Per serving: 234 calories, 5 g. total fat (less
than 3 g. saturated fat), 46 g. carbohydrate, 3 g. protein, 4
g. dietary fiber, 63 mg. sodium