It’s a typical Sunday afternoon in early January 2020. Four large, perfectly ripe pears lounge in a bowl on our kitchen counter. I’ve observed their incubation for three days, waiting for this succulent moment.
We never know if the green fruit we carry home from the grocer will perform this miracle, or end up mealy chicken scraps. I celebrate their flavor when pears turn yellow and juicy.
I choose one pear,
termed “unit” within the produce market. But that’s rather impersonal, for each pear offers delicious weight, 24% of our daily fiber requirement, nutritionists say.
Growing our teensy orchard, I know somewhat the toil and timing crucial to produce healthy and gorgeous food. I’m aware this hefty specimen I hold is not organic because my husband purchased them for their size.
Whether grown naturally or fertilized commercially, I can’t let these four beautiful pears go to the hens. After all, they’re most likely survivors shipped from some huge operation 2,000 miles from our door.
How to consume all this fiber in two days, enjoy this summer goodness in January, fruit out of season here and now?
I rinse and slice the fruit through the middle, find barely a seed to propagate this dense, luscious variety. The texture is perfect for the Gingerbread Pear Loaf I’ve been hankering to bake the past two winters.
While I eat the slippery pear, I review the featured recipe on the cover of the Holiday issue of Bake from Scratch 2016. In good time, I’m out the door for the grocery store, not my typical Sunday activity.
But the recipe includes 5 (12-ounce) bottles of ginger beer, an ingredient as rare in my house as four ripe pears, now three that must be peeled then poached in ginger beer for 12 hours.
As I search the aisles, the image of that sliced Gingerbread Pear Loaf will not let me go. There’s the ginger beer on a top shelf, $7 for four bottles. No way. I read the ingredients and decide to make it.
While the ginger beer simmers on the stove, I gather the loaf pan and dry ingredients around my yellow Kitchen Aid mixer, a Christmas gift from my daughters about sixteen years ago. They’d love this Gingerbread Pear Loaf with a dollop of whipping cream.
The pears poach in the fridge overnight. After breakfast Monday morning, I drain the fruit, mix the batter and pour it into the pan–with great care place the gingered pears on top.
Sun touches the fruit in translucent approval before I slide the pan into the oven. I watch the cake raise, not as high as on the cover of the magazine due to my oversized fruit.
Once the loaf cools, I turn the pan on its side and the cake breaks in half. A pear falls out.
I carry my repaired Gingerbread Pear Loaf to my Monday night writing group of twenty years. We celebrate another New Year.
As the pears, we’re together, here and now.
Email Iris at firstname.lastname@example.org.