It ap-pears — ha ha ha — that all the pears are accounted for now. Yesterday we found quick ways to process the ones that were left after we gave about eight of the really pretty ones to friends over in Saint-Aignan.
Walt found something on the web that said putting pears up in clear brandy — eau de vie, or alcool pour fruits — was easy and quick. That fit the ticket in my book, if I can mix some metaphors. All you have to do is wash the pears well, poke some holes in them with a skewer, pack them in a jar, and pour enough eau de vie over them to cover them. Then add sugar in the proportion of 300 grams per liter of alcohol (same proportions as for light sugar syrup made with water).
No cooking is necessary, and the holes you poke in the pear flesh allows the eau de vie to soak into them. When you open them after a few weeks or months, you can not only eat the pears but also drink the eau de vie as a kind of pear-flavored liqueur. We made the two jars you see in the picture above.
There were still plenty of pears left for Walt to make a nice French-style tarte and for one more classic French preparation — poires au vin rouge. For pears poached in red wine, you use about half a liter of wine, three-fourths of a cup of sugar, and spices to make a poaching liquid. Add some cinnamon or cloves if you like them. Some lemon and/or orange zest is also good. I added some thick wine grape syrup that I made and put up in jars a few years ago, and I added half a cup of some Martin & Rossi red vermouth for those good flavors too.
Very ripe pears need only a brief poaching in the wine mixture. Peel them, but you don't have to core them or even cut off the stem or bottom ends. When the pears are poached, take them out of the liquid and boil it down by a third or a half to thicken it and concentrate its flavor. The pour it over the pears and serve them.
Now I'm thinking maybe I will hope for a bounty of pears again next summer. I wonder how old that little tree is. Sometimes fruit trees produce a bumper crop in the year just before the tree dies. This one must be pretty old now, but I think I read that pear trees can live for 200 years or more.