Pearfection

Pearfection
Jenny Morris

Fooding Around with Jenny Morris

I so look forward to winter and all the delicious fruits and veggies the season has to offer me. I’m going to make my mouth love me this winter with this elegant pear, which was named after a French monk in 1896, one Abate Fetel (say it like this – ah-BAH-tay fuh-TEL).
It is a very aromatic, sweet tasting pear and the Heirloom varietal was originally bred in mid-fifteenth century. Abate Fetel pears are a yellowish-green with a russet coat.

Their white flesh has a slightly crisp texture and a sweet flavour with notes of honey, and work beautifully in salads and on cheese boards. They are a great eating pear and when fully ripe they are very juicy.
Test your Abate Fetel for ripeness by pressing gently on the stem end with your thumb. If the fruit gives in slightly, it is ready to eat. If not, leave it in a paper bag at room temperature for a few days.

If you want to enjoy them later – as they have a short season – why not bottle some.
The good news is that what was previously an export variety, Abate Fetel pears can also be found growing in South Africa, Italy, France, Argentina and California. Abate Fetel it is now being promoted in South Africa through Checkers and Shoprite stores, Spar and leading independent grocers from May until late July. Abate pears do ripen rather quickly, so it is important to keep them refrigerated until one or two days before you are ready to use them.

The good news about this pear is that it contains only 100 calories per fruit, making them an ideal snack for low calorie diets. They have considerably more fructose than most pear varieties. This high sugar content provides instant energy and its fibre will avoid any sort of sugar crash. Try them in smoothies when they are very ripe – yummy!

Let’s cook!

Abate Fetel Pear & Blue Cheese Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 400 Frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight (1 sheet)
  • 80 ml Tinned chopped tomato
  • 40 ml Fruit chutney
  • 70 g Blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Abate Fetel pear, peeled and cored
  • Rocket leaves to garnish

Method:
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out and place the puff pastry onto a baking dish. Fold the edges of the pastry over inwards by 1cm. Using a fork prick the inner area of the pastry, ensuring not to prick the edges.
Place into the preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes, remove from the oven, press down the inner part of the pastry that has puffed up.
Make the tomato chutney by mixing together the chopped tomato and chutney, spread the tomato chutney over the inner section of the pizza base.
Using a vegetable peeler shave thin slices of pear on top of the tomato chutney. Crumble the blue cheese over the pear and chutney, and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately with rocket leaves.

Green Bean, Bacon & Abate Fetel Affair

Ingredients:

  • 25g Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 50g Pine nuts
  • 60g Streaky bacon, cut into cubes
  • 200g Green beans
  • 5ml Olive oil
  • 10ml Unsalted butter
  • 1 Abate Fetel pear, cubed

Method:
Remove the heads and tails of the green beans, cut them in half diagonally and steam for 5 minutes or until al dente.
Add the pine nuts to a non-stick pan and toast over a high heat for 3 minutes, continuously tossing them to prevent burning, remove and allow to cool.
Heat the oil and 5ml of the butter in a non-stick pan, fry the bacon until crispy, and drain on paper towel.
Wipe the pan clean and heat the remaining butter. Add the Abate Fetel and quickly fry for 1 minute. Pour the pear and the pan’s butter over the green beans, add the bacon and toss well.
Sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts and crumble over the feta cheese.