papples + pears

PEARS, oddly enough, were never in our family's fruit-bearing repertoire growing up. they have been around for centuries, yet the last three decades they have mostly escaped me. Synonymous with apples, PEARS are beautiful, ornamental fruits with a delicate crunch that's perfect raw, poached, canned; juiced, jellied or jammed. and, considering their nutritious reputation, engaging vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, it's high time to give the classic, succulent fruit a chance. as such, I recently started acquainting myself with myriad varietals found in local markets around Southern California, and discovering little gems of recipes and parings, all of which seem to be strengthening my relationship with the fruit.

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after selecting a variety of organic PEARS from Whole Foods Market to play around with, I gravitate to one of my new favorite bakes: Cardamom Cake With Whole Pears + White Chocolate, developed by culinary maven, Yvette van Boven. her recipe can be found in her book: HOMEMADE WINTER.

the PEARS, poached in white wine and infused with star anise, cloves and cardamom, is such a unique and delicious combination, they could have easily vanished before tucking away in the cake mixture. *if you are not familiar with cardamom, it is a strong, aromatic spice in the ginger family, native to India but largely exported from Guatemala.  it dons a rustic, cool, ginger-esque taste, and packs a subtle, delightful punch when using the whole generous tablespoon in this recipe. 

also, in my amateur culinary wisdom, instead of using the white chocolate {which I recommend as it compliments the flavors of pear + cardamom beautifully}, I opted for a light drizzle of Dude Sweet Chocolate Sauce, which has a hint of liqueur. years ago I had an incredible dessert in Barcelona, which was a bread soaked in liqueur sauce. this minor adjustment was my feeble attempt to reproduce it.  if choosing this route, go delicate with the sauce so that it doesn't overpower what's happening in the loaf.  

nevertheless, the result was still nothing short of delicious.

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PAPPLES? my thoughts exactly. I came across these bright + cheery little fellas a few days ago in the market, and felt they were in need of some attention.  the description of this new zealand pear* read something along the lines of: looks like an apple, tastes of pear, with perhaps even a hum of watermelon undertones. however, after some digging around, many contend it looks like pear (I wholeheartedly disagree) yet tastes like an apple. as my siblings will gladly acknowledge, I never back down from a great debate. and so, the dubious fruit makes its way back to our humble kitchen in search of an identity.

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the PAPPLE is not dissimilar in appearance from the Pink Lady apple, yet the surface is a bit softer, resembling that of the pear. biting into it ushers that velvety crisp texture of the apple, yet the juices render slightly more sophistication, carrying just a hint of sweetness, baring a wine-like undertone that of a sauvignon blanc grape (which would make sense as New Zealand is known for producing some world class sauvignon blanc vintages). overall, at least as a snack in it's raw form, the PAPPLE rivals both the apple and the pear; hence, joyfully consumed. {and yes, it browns just as easily when exposed long enough, unless rubbed with lemon juice...}. 

*this fruit, much like the 'grapple', is evidently widely mistaken for a GMO product; but, there is also evidence to the contrary, stating that it is merely a different varietal of pear. if anyone bares different research proving or disproving it origins as a non-GMO varietal, please do share your education. like most, I try to deviate from GMO products.