Susan S. Yeske: Dining In - Recipe of the Week

“Wonderful fruit” grown just north of Bucks County



This time of year employees are carefully harvesting the pears, which bruise easily and are packed in “socks” for shipping.

Not far from the Bucks County border, in the lush green hills of Lehigh County, are hundreds of acres of Asian pear trees that are ready for harvest.

Subarashii Kudamono, which translates from Japanese as “wonderful fruit,” is an Asian pear farm created by Joel Spira, a successful inventor and founder of Lutron Electronics Co.

When Spira first tasted crisp Asian pears in the 1970s, he determined to bring them back to Pennsylvania. Here his wife Ruth Rodale Spira, a trained botanist, diversified the Asian pear trees into more than 25 American-style Asian pear varieties.

This time of year the farm’s employees are busy picking and packing pears for shipping to Whole Foods, Wegmans and Kimberton Whole Foods stores and for gift boxes that are sent around the country and the world. Holly Harter, marketing director for the farm, is equally busy letting people know that the pears have more uses than simply slicing to serve with cheese or adding them to salads.

“We have chefs developing recipes,” said Harter. “They push the envelope by using them in slaws and making dishes like pear fries and pear enchiladas.”

The farm’s website, wonderfulfruit.com, offers dozens of options of what you can do with Asian pears, which are crisp like an apple, and quite different from their American counterparts. You can find recipes for pies, cakes, brownies, wraps, dumplings, salsas, barbecue sauce and chicken dishes. Some incorporate dried Asian pears or preserves, which also are Subarashii Kudamono products.

The pear, Harter explains, originated in Asia, eventually moving to Europe, and then North America. Bosc and Anjou pears originated in France and Belgium, while the Bartlett pear came from England and was brought to Massachusetts. When the farm was taken over by Enoch Bartlett, he commercialized it under his own name.

Bartlett pears are the most popular variety in the United States, but Subarashii Kudamono hopes to change that, one piece of fruit at a time. Sweet and juicy, the farm’s pears are versatile, as the chefs have demonstrated with their many recipes. This one is for a quiche.

For more Subarashii Kudamono recipes and information on the company see wonderfulfruit.com.

Fresh Asian Pear Quiche
1 pie crust
4 tablespoons butter
6 to 8 leaves spinach
1 cup sliced fresh Asian pears
8 green onions, chopped
1 cup Brie, sliced
1 cup, Parmesan, grated
4 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Cover pie crust with foil and bake for 10 minutes, then remove foil and bake 5 minutes more. Remove pie crust from oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees.

Julienne the spinach. Chop all of green onions. In skillet, sauté onion until tender. Remove with slotted spoon and combine with spinach and Asian pears.

Spread mixture on bottom of pie shell. Spread brie slices over mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Combine eggs, cream, nutmeg and rosemary and pour over cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges or squares and serve.

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