RED SENSATION PEARS — The Red Sensation, known also as “Max Red,” was first discovered as a bud sport on a standard Yellow Bartlett tree near Zillah, Washington in 1938. A “bud sport” is a rare, naturally occurring transformation that develops spontaneously on fruit trees. The Red Sensation was then cultivated by pear growers, resulting in today’s large crop.

Called “Summer pears” because of the time of year in which their harvest begins, Red Sensation pears are similar in shape and texture to Yellow Bartletts. Offering differing floral aromas and a supple sweetness, Summer Reds add a beautiful contrast of flavor and color in fruit baskets and bowls.

These pears offer much the same great flavors as Yellow Bartletts, but their color simply adds to their appeal. Consider sliced red pears to liven up green salads or other recipes. Remember that any recipe calling for apples can be made using fresh pears.

Ripening & Storage: The skin color of the Red Sensation pear brightens as it ripens from a dark red to a brilliant red as it becomes sweeter and juicier. All pears ripen at room temperature. Only refrigerate your pears to slow the ripening process.

Savory Red Pear Pizza       (Serves 6)

This recipe does not use a traditional sauce, letting the juicy pears bring a sweet balance to the parmesan and prosciutto’s more salty flavors. Using a prepared pizza crust makes this an effortless meal or a beautiful and savory appetizer.

1 Prepared pizza dough crust (such as Boboli)

3 T. Extra virgin olive oil

3 Garlic cloves, minced

2 oz. Parmesan cheese, fresh grated

3 oz. Prosciutto, chopped

1 Red Sensation pear, cored and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450°. Place pizza crust on baking sheet, spreading evenly with olive oil and garlic. Top with cheese, prosciutto and pear slices. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until   cheese is melted and bubbly. Slice and serve.

BARTLETT PEARS — The Bartlett Pear, as it is known in North America, is the same variety that is called the “Williams” in many other parts of the world. First discovered in 1765 by an English schoolmaster, this variety was made popular in England by a nurseryman named Williams, and became known as the Williams Pear. Around 1799, several Williams trees were exported to the U.S. and were planted on a Massachusetts estate orchard. Later, Enoch Bartlett acquired the orchard. Not knowing the identity of the trees, Bartlett introduced the variety to the U.S. under his own name. It was later discovered that both varieties are the same.

With that quintessential “pear flavor,” Bartletts are found in most local markets. The earliest choice available for pear lovers, (harvested in late August to early September, available through December or January), they are great for canning, eating out of hand, or in a range of dishes including appetizers and desserts.

Ripening & Storage: Uniquely, the Bartlett’s skin brightens as it ripens. Ripen at room temperature to a yellow-green for mild sweetness, or to bright yellow for super sweetness and juiciness. Refrigerate to slow ripening.

Chocolate Pear Delight  (This will disappear fast – better make a double batch!)

1 T. butter

1 T. flour

1/2 C. milk

3 T. cocoa

2-1/2 T. sugar

2 eggs, yolks and whites separated

1/4 t. vanilla

1 Bartlett Pear, peeled and sliced

Melt butter, blend in flour. Heat milk, cocoa and sugar together until hot but not boiling. Add milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture, stirring constantly. Separate the egg whites from the yolks, setting aside the whites. Beat the yolks until light. Blend small amount of sauce into yolks; add this mixture to the sauce. Cook and stir over low heat until slightly thickened. Add vanilla. Cover and cool.

Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Lay sliced pears in the bottom of a buttered 4-cup baking dish. Pour chocolate mixture over the top. Bake at 350° for 1/2 hour, until set. Serve immediately, and often!

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Amy Heydt
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