Oven-Dried Pears for Roasted Meats, Game, and Poultry

Whenever a recipe calls for fruit to accompany meat, game, and poultry (like duck with pears), this is the best way I know to bring out the flavors of the fruit, giving a commercial product a whole new lease on life as if it were ripe fruit fresh from a farm in Oregon or Long Island. The process is oven drying, slowly evaporating all that Colorado River irrigation water from the fruit without cooking it.

Ingredients

  • 4 pears
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Slice the pears in half lengthwise. Rub each half with a pinch of salt.

Put parchment paper on a tray just large enough to hold the pears and pour the sugar on the paper. There should be a 1/16-inch layer. Put the pear halves cut side down on the sugar and bake for 1 to 2 hours, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Hard Sekel pears, for example, take 1¼ hours.

As soon as the pears are cool enough to handle, remove the cores and stems, and proceed with any recipe that calls for the fruit as a garnish.

Variation

Oven-Dried Fruit

Do the same thing with halved apples, peeled pineapple, quinces, plums, apricots (especially, since they tend to be the most ruined by growers), peaches, and figs.

,