September Apples and Pears

Filed under: Mealtime, Activities: Teens, Nutrition: Teens, Activities: Tweens, Nutrition: Tweens, Activities: Big Kids, Nutrition: Big Kids, Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Nutrition: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Activities: Family Time

If your family is like ours, you may have found yourselves ramping up your consumption of fast food or processed foods to the point that it surpasses the level of the nutrition mantra "everything in moderation."

To stem this tide, our family has set aside one Sunday a month to prepare special dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables. Every month, I'll make a dish and one of my three teenagers will do his or her own version on the theme.

For September, my daughter, Anna, chose apples and I chose pears.

We hope you'll join us.


Teen's Pick of the Crop: Tarte Tatin, by Dave Esau of Dave's Specialty Foods, Mount Prospect, Ill.

how to make apple tart

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place water and sugar in a 9" handled sauté pan. Cook over a high heat to caramelize.
Remove from heat and immediately add butter to water mixture. Mix well with wooden spoon.
Place apples decoratively over caramel.
Top with puff square.
Tuck all edges in and brush with egg wash.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
Cool; then invert onto plate just before serving.

Teen dishes the deets ...
September just screams apples -- and apple desserts. So, we crafted the famous pastry with Granny Smith apples, and preparation was relatively easy, as the recipe does not call for a homemade pie crust; Pepperidge Farm was sufficient. Admittedly, it was hard to cut the apples into crescent moon slices, but I didn't mind the less-than-perfect design ... Martha Stewart who? The finished product was dee-lish, but could've used a little seasoning. Mom claims it doesn't need cinnamon. I beg to differ, but the tart is truly yummy with a little bit of ice cream on top. Just one more thing: I'm picking the kitchen music next time around. Mom grooves to Barry Manilow and Elvis, but next month we are going with Lil Wayne. Bon Appetit!

Mom's Pick of the Crop: Maple Walnut Baked Pears by Ellen Behm of Merry Feast, Arlington Heights, Ill.

how to make baked pears

4 pears
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Ground cinnamon to taste

Core and stem 4 pears and cut each lengthwise into 8 pieces.
Put pieces in a baking pan.
Drizzle with ¼ cup maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Top with ¼ cup chopped walnuts.
Bake at 350 degrees until pears are tender, which should be about 25 minutes.

Mom dishes the deets ...

I'm still regaining my composure after the Manilow diss. As for the pear recipe, it's warm and comfy family food -- and Anna and I especially enjoyed the addition of chopped walnuts for the crunchy contrast it provided. Though Bosc or Anjou varieties are more often called for in cooked dishes, we used Bartletts in this recipe, as that's what was available at our local grocery store. Were we to try the recipe again, we might use whole pears -- with stems -- for an altogether different look. Bottom line: This is satisfying, simple fare -- and perfect for a fall dinner. You typically won't stuff a pear into a pie -- but what we've found is that a pan of baked pears becomes almost a conversation piece among dinner guests who aren't expecting this cinnamon-y side dish alongside a roast chicken. Ripe pears are softer than ripe apples, so the challenge is not to overcook them into mush.

Related: For more great recipes, check out the Family Chef on Kitchen Daily.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.