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Simply Special: spiced autumn pears

There are so many different types of pears; crisp, dry, juicy, crunchy and over ripe. However, I always prefer a very firm pear! (pardon the pun)

Red wine spiced autumnal pears
Red wine spiced autumnal pears

I am sure if you had a bite from a whole selection of autumn pears you would be so surprised at just how different they all are. From a Scottish Heritage to a Nashi pear, make sure you source some now and have a taste of something fruity from Scotland before the winter creeps in.

Sadly, if we don’t learn to love and use our Scottish pears, we’ll lose them. Not all of these fruits can be eaten straight from the tree; many need longer ripening indoors, cooking and laced with alcohol.

Our medieval ancestors were more imaginative in their use of fruit. Pears pickled, poached, potted and turned into fruit leather are no longer part of our repertoire. However, I have encountered the fruit leather in a few restaurants recently and it’s pretty tasty if you ask me.

Sweet and juicy pears are sometimes disguised behind not very bonnie skins, but there are many ways to skin, use and enjoy them.

Use this warming dish as something special, either sweet or savoury, this weekend.

Enjoy

Red wine spiced autumnal pears

- 4-6 Conference, Comice or Concord pears, which are grown in Scotland and the UK, peeled

- 500ml of red wine (have the other 250ml for yourself!). I recommend Zinfandel, Shiraz or Merlot.

- 150g of granulated sugar

- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (you can also add lemon zest if desired)

- Seeds from 1 vanilla pod, scrapped (you can also put the pod into liqueur)

- 1 stick of cinnamon

1 Combine all of the ingredients, except the pears, and bring to the boil

2 Once the wine mixture is boiling, turn down the heat to a simmer and add the pears

3 Simmer the pears for 10-12 minutes and then turn them and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes until they are tender and easily poked with a fork

4 Remove the pears and let them cool

5 Boil the wine sauce until the liquid has been reduced by half

6 Pour the sauce over the pears and serve with mascarpone, creme fraiche or cream. You can also serve them with a great Scottish cheese selection.

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