Pears can be traced back to ancient China at least 3000 years to the foothills of the Tian Shan mountain range in central Asia. It is particularly suited to a temperate climate, the name we know it by pear, is of Celtic origin.
The pear cultivar found its way through Asia to Europe; Roman records record its use as a fruit raw and cooked; being stewed with honey; the Romans had at least 30-40 varieties. Today we have more than 3000 varieties; they are cultivated in Europe, North America, South America, China and Japan. The world’s production of pears in recent years has been approximately 21-23 million metric tonnes annually, which is 3-4 kilograms for every man, women and child. New Zealand produces around 15-20 thousand tonnes annually, a microscopic portion of total world production.
Pears are a rich source of fibre that aids digestion cleaning the gut, supporting a healthy environment for gut bacteria; they are a source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc to name but a few.
Winter Pear Self Saucing Pudding
2 – 3 medium pears peeled and sliced thinly
11⁄2 cups of self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/3 cup of milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
3⁄4 cup brown sugar
11⁄2 cups of boiling water
1 tablespoon cornflour dissolved in a little water
Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish with butter.
Put in half the pear slices and cover the bottom of dish evenly.
Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor or bowl add the egg (if mixture curdles it won’t matter), add the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and milk and mix well.
Fold the remaining pear slices into the batter keep a few to arrange on top.
Spread the mixture as best you can over the slices in the dish.
Arrange the remaining pear slices on top.
Put the brown sugar, golden syrup and butter into a bowl and pour in the boiling water and stir till everything is combined and the butter is melted.
Mix in the cornflour and gently pour the liquid over the pudding.
Put the pudding in the oven straight away.
Bake for 40 minutes or until well risen and golden.
Let the pudding stand for 5 minutes so the sauce thickens.