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the versatility of pears

Let’s Explore The Versatility Of Pears

Pears – crisp, tangy and juicy – are ripe for the picking this month. Here are three ways to let their sweet and savoury versatility shine.  

Pickled pear slaw on gorgonzola-stuffed chicken burgers

Serves 4 • Total Time 45 Min 



4 chicken breast fillets  
80g gorgonzola 
salt and milled black pepper  
2 Tbsp vegetable oil  


½ cup warm water  
½ cup sugar  
½ cup white balsamic vinegar  
½ fennel bulb, sliced
2 pears, cored and sliced 
1 cup cabbage, shredded 
handful fennel fronds, chopped 
1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard 
2 Tbsp mayonnaise  


4 Portuguese rolls, sliced and toasted 
1 head baby gem lettuce, washed and chopped   

Chef’s Tip: Cheddar, mozarrella or Parmesan will work just as well as gorgonzola in this burger.  


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. 
  2. Cut lengthways into the side of each chicken breast, creating a pouch. 
  3. Stuff with cheese, close and season. 
  4. Heat oil in a pan and fry chicken until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. 
  5. 5. Finish chicken in the oven until cooked through, about 15 minutes. 
  6. For pickled pear slaw, begin by making pickling liquid. Bring water, sugar and vinegar to the boil. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. 
  7. Remove pickling liquid from heat. Place fennel and pears in liquid, cover with clingfilm, and leave to pickle for 20 minutes. 
  8. Strain fennel and pears and combine with remaining slaw ingredients. 
  9. Layer rolls with lettuce, chicken and top with pickled pear slaw.

Pear tarte tatin 

Serves 6 • Total Time 45 Min 

the versatility of pears


8-10 pears, peeled, cored and halved 
1 cup sugar  
¼ cup water  
2 Tbsp butter  
1 sheet puff pastry 
1 egg, whisked


vanilla ice cream (optional) 
mint sprigs (optional)  


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. 
  2. Slice each pear Hasselback-style, without cutting all the way through. 
  3. Heat sugar and water in a large ovenproof pan over medium heat. 
  4. Stir until sugar dissolves and boil until liquid is amber and has the consistency of caramel. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. 
  5. Arrange pears cut-side up in pan, spooning caramel over to coat evenly. 
  6. Roll puff pastry out onto a floured work surface. 
  7. Cut out a large circle, slightly bigger than your pan, and cover pears with pastry, crimping the edge lightly to seal. 
  8. Brush pastry with egg and pierce with a fork. 
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden. 
  10. Remove and set aside to cool for a few minutes, then carefully turn out onto a serving platter. 
  11. Drizzle with remaining caramel, and serve with scoops of ice cream and mint sprigs.

Chef’s Tip: Hasselback the pears by slicing them, but not quite all the way through, in thin, even layers. 

On The Side 

Pear Necessities
There are three main pears available to us in South Africa: the Forelle variety, which is green with a bright pink blush, the bright green Packham pear, and the light pink Rosemarie pear. Packham pears are the sweetest of the three. They’re very versatile and go well with everything from butter- and cinnamon-based desserts to blue cheese and walnuts in salads. Rosemarie pears are perfect on pizza or as a condiment on a cheese board.  

Spiced pear and apple chutney 

Makes 3 Cups • Total Time 2 ½  Hours 

the versatility of pears


11½ cups apple cider vinegar
1½  cups water
7 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped 
7 pears, peeled, cored and chopped 
100ml sultanas 
1 onion, finely chopped 
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves 
3 star anise
Pinch ground cloves 

1 Tbsp each ground coriander and ground cumin 
½ cup brown sugar 
salt and milled black pepper  


  1. Place all ingredients, except sugar and seasoning, in a large pot. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the apples and pears have softened slightly. 
  2. Add sugar and stir gently until dissolved. 
  3. Simmer for 1-1 ½  hours, or until chutney evenly coats the back of a wooden spoon. 
  4. Remove chutney from heat. Remove star anise and season. 
  5. Spoon into sterilised jars, or set aside to cool slightly and serve. 


More recipes worth the try:
Red wine poached pears with vanilla custard
Poached pears and spiced creamy oats
Whole roasted chicken with pears and spinach

Words by Sjaan Van Der Ploeg
Photography: Fresh Living Magazine

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