To round out a series of family posts, I have to share the story of pear day. My family from California was in town for one extra day past the Bar Mitzvah, and we had ourselves an adventure.
News got out about a house near my grandpa’s with a seemingly abandoned pear tree bursting with fruit….well, that could not go ignored. My Aunt Ellen Kay, who has 50 fruit trees of her own in her backyard in California, does not do things in moderation. And she does not allow good (free) food to go to waste. We schemed, we planned, and the Sunday after my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah was designated “Pear Day.”
Now look at this tree – how could we resist?
Don’t worry – we were good law-abiding citizens, and we asked the woman for permission. Luckily she said yes, and we came back with a bushel and a picking crew.
Was I embarrassed, parked outside a suburban home with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and mother, holding a plastic bag and picking for salvageable pears off the ground, getting rotten pear gunk all over my shoes? Not one bit.
Okay, do you think we’re crazy yet? Would most families react this way to finding a slightly neglected fruit tree in the neighborhood? Well they should. Because by the end of the day, our bounty had been transformed into one dutch baby pancake and two huge batches of amazing pear sauce.
I can’t lie to you guys – this next part got old real quick. Peeling and removing the icky stuff from every tiny pear. (New development: my grandpa is the latest member of my family to begin using vermaculture, meaning he has a bin of worms in his backyard. It’s actually really cool, and the worms got to enjoy all our pear scraps and turn them into compost!)
Sometimes this happened:
That’s a different kind of worm. Ew.
Once we had made a dent in the bushel of pears, Aunt Ellen Kay started work on our lunch – pear dutch baby. We sautéed the pears in butter, with a little orange juice and vanilla.
As the pears cooked down, they released a lot of juice. We poured a lot of this juice into another pan and cooked it down to create a sauce.
It turned into a beautiful, thick, caramely sauce that we drizzled over the top of the final product.
A dutch baby is basically a big pancake that you bake in the oven. Ours looked beautiful when it came out of the oven…
…but getting it out of the pan proved to be a little tricky.
Yikes. Nervous expressions.
So….it didn’t end up so pretty. I’m sorry. But it was delicious. Absolutely delicious. Especially after our morning of foraging, prepping, and cooking this true labor of love.
Yep, this is the image of success. After being covered in caramel sauce. Before being devoured by the pear crew (and Grandpa – entertained onlooker).
I don’t have a recipe for you guys today…just a little inspiration to appreciate your own eccentric family and have yourself a food adventure. Happy Wednesday!
(And Happy Sukkot! Pear day seems to be a perfect celebration of this harvest festival!)