My apologies: This was originally published back in April but for some bloggy reason it has decided to make a reappearance. Who knows...
Tis the season for apples and pears, and this year, dad's beurre bosc tree is literally weighed down with its dull-skinned fruit. The branches are lying on the ground - admittedly it is not a very tall tree, but each of those branches is abundant with heavy pears.
On my last visit, I came home with a big bag of pears, and last week dad dropped in another big bag. So what to so with these strangely elegant things, with their long curved stems and khaki-coloured skin that makes them look like they are carved from wood?
When I cut into the fruit, it is dryish and grainy - more akin to a raw quince than the usual juicy soft pears I'm used to. Are beurre boscs always like this, or are these unripe fruit?
You see, I've never eaten this variety before. I know! I love their elegant appearance on my kitchen counter, but I'm not yet sure about the fruit for eating. As I said, they remind me of quinces, and you don't eat quinces straight from the tree.
Instead, I have put them to good use in this sauce, which is usually just an apple sauce, but the apple pear combination has worked well for me. The hard beurre boscs cooked down beautifully and became soft and tender.
Now, what to do with this apple pear sauce? You could serve it with a roast. I've been enjoying a generous dollop on my breakfast oats, and in a glass layered with muesli and natural yoghurt and almond flakes. The warmth and roundness from the brandy and spices are gentle, and seem rather fitting for autumn (your kitchen will smell marvellous as the sauce cooks).
And I have been freezing it in one-cup batches, ready for baking - I've got a cake recipe filed away somewhere that uses apple sauce to add sweetness and moistness to the final product (I guess it adds some healthy fibre too). So i'm ready for that option.
Apple pear sauce
From a handwritten recipe of mum's. The first time I cooked it, with more apples than pears, it made just over 2 cups of sauce; the second time, with more pears than apples, it made just over 3 cups. I don't understand either.
- Take 1 kilo of apples and pears. Peel, core and cut into chunks.
- Add the fruit to a heavy pot (I used my cast iron Le Creuset), then add 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup brandy, 1 tbspn lemon juice, the zest of 1 lemon, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 1/4 tspn mixed spice.
- Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and partially cover. Cook until softened - mine took about 45 minutes, but my pears were very hard.
- Once nicely softened, remove from heat and remove the cinnamon sticks and any splinters. Using a food processor or stick blender, whizz it up until smooth.
- Spoon into air-tight container and refrigerate, or freeze one-cup portions for later use.