Orchard fruit really shines in late summer and early fall. We are fortunate to have access to a more rare variety of pear here in the Pittsburgh area: the seckel pear.
These fruits are itty bitty, but big on flavor. Sweeter than bigger varieties, they are subject to the same short window of perfection as other pears and stone fruits. If you want to use them before they are perfectly ripe (we try to deliver them a little under-ripe so they travel better), they are perfect for baked, sauteed, spiced, or poached-pear desserts.
According to Trees of Antiquity, the seckel pear is native to Pennsylvania and was discovered in the 1790’s. It’s an heirloom variety growing on a relatively small tree, making it a very special treat for us Pennsylvanians!
Try this: dice your seckel pears, and toss with a little raw sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chopped walnuts, and chopped candied ginger. Cook in a saute pan with some butter over medium-low heat. When soft, add a little more sugar and turn up the heat. Toss or stir often and remove from heat once everything has lightly carmelized/browned. Serve inside crepes. Here’s my favorite recipe for crepes (good ‘ol Alton Brown).