I have a computer paper box full of pears on my kitchen floor. My mom and dad live in a gold rush era orchard. There are two very old house foundations, a cistern well and numerous fruit trees from the golden, olden days. Pears and plums are the most common and are still quite productive considering their age. This year's moist spring and mild summer made for trees loaded with fruit. In fact, most of the pears I collected came from a large branch that had broken and fallen to the ground. My mom says that it probably had an assist from the local wildlife who have also been enjoying this year's bounty.
You'll see the plums later when I process the 25 lbs. that are currently in gallon zip locks in the freezer. Plum and pineapple jam is one of my all time favorites. We haven't really made good use of the pears before now. I think the first time my mom tried to use them, they were full of ants and worms and she decided they were no good and assumed they would continue to be no good. On my last visit I picked one and started eating. My mom looked at me waiting for me to gag and spit. But, ahhhh, it was good. They are bumpy and funky, but not buggy or wormy. Now, they are rapidly ripening on my kitchen floor.
I want to get busy preserving these guys, but first, PIE. I got the idea for this pie from Farm Journal's Country Cookbook, but I didn't really didn't follow their recipe. They get the credit for the idea of crumb topping and flavoring the pie with orange. The rest is all me.
Two prepared pie crusts, unbaked
8 cups peeled, cored and cut up pears
Zest and juice of one lemon
Zest and juice of one orange
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line two pie plates with the crust and set in the fridge to chill while preparing the pears.
Combine prepared pears, zests and juices, 1 tbsp. flour and 2 tbsp. sugar and stir to combine. Divide into the two prepared crusts.
For the topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut butter into small pieces and toss into the flour mixture. Combine butter and flour mixture until it resembles sand. This can be done by hand or in a food processor. Divide the topping between the pies and spread across the pears. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the fruit is soft and bubbly.
No calorie calculation on this one. Enjoy!
PS. Fruit pies are breakfast approved.