3 minutes Inspiration

5 Ways To Use: Pear Halves

Believed to have originated in the Caucasus region around 4,000 years ago before spreading to Asia and Europe, the mighty pear was revered by the Ancient Greeks and dedicated to the goddess Hera, who represented women and fertility. Still packing a powerful punch of vitamins, fibre and nutrients today, pears continue to be an important and tasty part of a healthy diet. Country Range Pear Halves in Light Syrup are sourced from Italy and are juicy, sweet and refreshing whenever they’re called upon. Ultra versatile, they’re delicious served on their own but are a fabulous ingredient for all manner of pies, crumbles, cakes, turnovers, tarts and sauces.

1 – Cracking Crumble

Perfect for a pear crumble but I like to balance out the sweet syrup with a little lemon juice and some spices such as vanilla. I then add the pears to create a time-saving filling. Adding nuts to the crumble topping is also a must for texture.

2 – Tasty Tarts

A Pear and Almond Tart is sublime simplicity personified and always takes some beating if done right. Think of a classic frangipane topped with sliced pears before baking. Then use a little syrup for the final glazing.

3 – Magically Mulled

Mulled poached pears are another favourite of mine which can be tweaked in a variety of ways throughout the year. Take the syrup from the can and flavour with cinnamon, nutmeg and even a few sprigs of thyme. Add red wine, simmer it away, then pour back over the pears and allow to mull away. The pears will take on a lovely burgundy colour and can be used as a garnish for a chocolate dessert or rice pudding. Or simply serve them warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

4 – Caramelised and Spiced

I’ve historically made these Spiced Caramelised Pears as a garnish for a celeriac cheese pithivier. Simply infuse the syrup with cider vinegar, fresh ginger, star anise, cinnamon, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and a pinch of chilli flakes. While still warm, pour the syrup back over the pears and allow the flavours to develop. They keep well in a Kilner jar and just need to be seared in a hot pan to caramelise before serving as a garnish.

5 – Sweet or Savoury Tarte Tatin

A great dish that can work as a starter or a sweet – you just need to plate up slightly differently. Prep the pear halves, cover neatly with puff pastry and cook your tarte tatin as normal. For a savoury dish, serve with blue cheese, walnut, celery and chicory salad with a little honey and mustard dressing. For sweet – serve with a suitable ice cream or custard.

About Mark Fletcher

With over 30 years working in the industry as a chef, Bath-born Mark Fletcher has held a variety of head chef and executive chef roles across Michelin star kitchens and 5-star hotels and resorts around the UK. In 2022, Mark won the Banqueting & Event Chef of the Year Award from the Craft Guild of Chefs for his work at Churche’s Mansion Bar & Restaurant in Nantwich. With a passion for supporting the next generation of cooks and a vast experience of judging various cooking competitions such as The North West Young Chef of the Year, The Springboard Future Chef and The UK Young Restaurant Team of the Year, Mark joined Loughborough College to help prepare its talented team for the next instalment of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge.