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November 2007 Issue
by J. Sinclair
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Pears are autumn's juiciest fruit at my home. My husband doesn't like them ... until I let them ripen on the counter, slice them and add them to everything from salads to muffins to simply laying them on a plate and setting them in front of him! Suddenly, this "boring" fruit is a juicy, sweet treat.

Pears are gathered from the trees before they are completely ripe and are allowed to ripen in storage. Cold retards ripening, and heat speeds it. Pears are eaten fresh and canned. The best North American pear-growing districts are in California, Washington, and Oregon and, to a lesser degree, in the northern United States from New England to the Great Lakes and in lower Canada. Pears are among the most popular fruits grown in home orchards in the United States.

Pears contain about 16 percent carbohydrate and negligible amounts of fat and protein. They are good sources of the B-complex vitamins and also contain vitamin C; in addition, they contain small amounts of phosphorus and iodine. While they are best known for fresh eating and baked goods, they are surprisingly good paired with roasted pork or added to autumn-inspired salads. They also pair very well with strong cheeses and are a welcomed addition to a fine cheese plate. Consider putting together one as the end to your Thanksgiving meal.

If cheese and fruit seems too untraditional for Thanksgiving dessert, consider instead making this great pairing an appetizer for your special day. While the rest of your meal is coming together, these simple tarts literally take minutes to make and are definitely a crowd pleaser.


Blue Cheese and Pear Tartlets

  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 ripe pear - peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light cream
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (2.1 ounce) package mini phyllo tart shells
Prebake the phyllo shells according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

Mix together blue cheese, pear, and cream. Season to taste with pepper. Spoon mixture into cooled shells.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

  • Yields: 15 servings
  • Preparation Time: 35 minutes

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