Lately, we've been experiencing Preserving the Harvest, Part II at our house.
(The first portion was in July, when I made pints and pints of jam: cherry, cherry-plum, nectarine-lime, peach butter, peach-apricot-nectarine, strawberry-apricot-nectarine-vanilla, plumcot, plum-nectarine, and--wait for it--cantaloupe-vanilla. And other kinds. I know I'm forgetting some. Most of these recipes came from the awesome Food in Jars website or cookbook.)
Around that time. I ordered a case of pears through our congregation's preparedness committee. And about two weeks ago, they arrived straight from a church farm in Oregon. Forty pounds. Ninety Bartlett pears. Once they ripened just a few days ago, I got going. Here's what I made, with links to recipes:
Chocolate-Pear Jam (!!!!!!)
Ginger-Pear Jam (In the Food in Jars cookbook)
Two Pear Dutch Babies (I doubled the recipe both times.)
Pear Crisp (I used my own Vermont Apple Crisp recipe.)
Pear Sauce (This I just made up. The recipe will be in my new cookbook.)
Pear Sauce Cake with Penuche Frosting (I used my Applesauce Cake recipe.)
Three batches of Pear Pie Filling--in the freezer
And a partridge in a pear tree! Just kidding. But people had fresh pears in lunches and for snacks for several days.
What delicious fun! I loved how the quickly ripening mound of produce forced me to get creative in a hurry. I also loved how the smell of cooking pears took me straight back to my beloved Grandma Ybright's summer kitchen. I have such fond memories of helping her can (in cans!) every year. Special thanks to my sweet Jenna for giving me the Food in Jars cookbook and for finding many of these other treasures.
On to my next report. Two weeks ago, a darling neighbor gave me a big bag of ripe passion fruit from her garden. This I now know: I must plant at least one passion fruit vine of my own as soon as possible. You know how simply smelling chocolate makes you smile? Passion fruit is the same for me. Just walking by my fruit bowl, with that gorgeous aroma floating past my nose, made me happy. But consuming them made me even happier.
You can eat passion fruit raw--just cut it in half along the equator of the fruit and scoop out the jellied insides with a spoon. (Crunch the seeds or swallow them.) But they're even more luscious when you cook with it.
First, I adapted a Nigella Lawson recipe and made some passion fruit curd. It's like lemon curd--creamy, sweet-tart, and addictive--but with the knock-me-down-awesome flavor of passion fruit.
For this recipe, you want about a dozen passion fruit--the more purple and slightly wrinkly, the better. So that you don't lose any of the scrumptious insides, stab one at the equator with a sharp paring knife, then dig your thumbs in and rip the fruit apart over a bowl, sort of like cracking an egg. Then scoop out the rest of the insides with a spoon. Inhale the loveliness of each empty half before you toss it in the trash. Pour all the fruit pulp into a seive over a big measuring cup.
Whisk two eggs and two egg yolks together, then whisk in 2/3 cup of superfine sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Melt a stick of butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the egg-sugar mixture and and the strained passion fruit juice. (Don't throw away the pulp and seeds!) Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat and whisk the pulp and seeds in. Once the mixture is cooled, you can store it in a couple of mason jars. Makes about 1-1/2 pints.
Here's what you do with the curd: spread it on toast. Stir a generous amount into plain yogurt (my favorite). Use it to fill a white or angel food cake. No matter how you eat it, you will feel like royalty. Its deliciousness is indescribable.
Another delicious option is to make passion fruit muffins. For these wonders, I used my Mother of Invention recipe. For Substance A, I put a cup of coconut flakes and a cup of passion fruit juice/pulp in the blender and whirled it up. SO GOOD.
What have you made lately?