The Pear Dare

My biggest pet peeve is having to scroll through someone’s description of their fabulous weekend and how much time they spent in their vehicular office today, in order to find the recipe.

So here’s the recipe. Thank you to my very talented husband for his food photography.



  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups chopped peeled ripe pears


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice; stir into dry ingredients with a fork. Remove 1 cup to another bowl; stir in the remaining sugar and set aside for the topping.
  • Press remaining crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, for filling, combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt and cinnamon in a small saucepan; slowly stir in water and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla.
  • Toss pears with remaining cornstarch; spoon over crust. Top with filling. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 430 calories, 20g fat (12g saturated fat), 119mg cholesterol, 511mg sodium, 60g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 3g fiber), 5g protein.

Ok, so now that’s done, we can chat, knowing that some poor thumb somewhere is not scrolling through my endless withering to find the ingredient list.

It was delicious, by the way, and went a tiny way to solving some issues I currently have. Namely this:

Scott’s Uncle and Aunt kindly gave us a couple of boxes of pears a week ago. We never refuse food here on Boston’s Ridge.

Only trouble was this:

I’m done canning, friends. I cannot do anymore this year.

But then there’s also this, which is definitely NOT a bad problem to have.

No one’s getting scurvy round here this winter, not if I have anything to do with it….

At one point, though, I really did have NOTHING to do with it.

I grew up, as I told you, on the south coast of England. A good, solid, very comfortable middle class household.

But we never grew veggies.

In England, the class system very much defines everything about how you choose to live your life. Of course, during the war years, everyone had a victory garden, but generally speaking, veggie growing seemed to be reserved for both the upper and lower- Middle classes of society.

Both segments of society are smart enough to have greenhouses. The Uppers, of course, have “help” in their greenhouses, the Lower Middles (sounds like a village name..) pride themselves on their magnificent red orbs that emerge from these glass sheds, completely orchestrated by hard work and a few sunny days.

The Middle-middles however, want nothing to do with veggies.

There’s a little class anxiety going on here. I’m unlikely to offend anyone, as my mum and I have giggled many a time over Mrs. Boo-Kay’s (a.k.a Bucket) behavior in the TV show Keeping Up Appearances. Conscious of the unlikely ability to move to the untouchable Uppers, and worried about being perceived as Lowers, a lot of time and energy goes into planning one’s meticulous garden, to look Just So.

Roses are preferable to Marigolds. Biggest example I can think of. Marigolds are definitely lower class. Forget the fact that this is one of the most useful flowers on the planet (bug control, my friends, a cream made of marigolds keeps every biting bug at barge-pole distance). However, the poor Marigold is just not in the same class rank as the Rose.

Veggies are considered a bit unsightly for the Middle-middle garden.

“ We can afford a tomato. We don’t need to grow it.”

These probably aren’t things that most British people worry about. However after chucking myself in passionate fashion down said Rabbit Hole, I found myself very definitely in the land of John Deere moldboard plows, and “yes, by goodness, why would you NOT grow it?”


The first summer after Scott and I were married, in 1994, we were fortunate enough to have a spot of land to grow a garden.

I had no clue. I had had a couple of fabulous and very clever Uncles that would emerge from the greenhouse with a hefty and appropriately timed tomato at family dinners, but I assumed it was all slightly magical, like the glasshouse was some sort of alternate universe you went into when you needed stuff.

Apparently not.

“Sam, you even have to get those little weeds. They get much bigger if you don’t…”.

I’m telling you now, it took poor Scott quite a while to be able to recover from my wrath following that, albeit, completely true, comment….

But I’ve always felt pretty adaptable, I think. I’ve enjoyed becoming part of where I lived. So despite some extremely sturdy initial resistance, I eventually grew to LOVE my garden.

Scott’s Mom taught me to can, both boiling water and the slightly terrifying pressure-can version, and I’ll forever be grateful for that. My own Mum sent fun English recipes for things like green tomato chutney (we English do love a bit of cheese and chutney, be sure to Google a Ploughman’s pub meal, my friends) and it’s become a wonderful part of life.

Our family goes through roughly 45 pints of salsa and chili sauce a day, it seems, so my eventual enthusiasm paid off.

But I still need to work on this😳

Happy fall, everyone.

2 thoughts on “The Pear Dare

  1. Beautiful. I am a squash person. Particularly butternut squash and acorn squash. I see a lot of butternut squash. I trust you’ve come up with a plan since you posted this blog?


    1. Yes, they last a long time. Although a couple kicked the bucket early on. We do a lot of squash soup and at some point I’ll cook and freeze it all and then use it all year for baking. We love pumpkin chili too.


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