If any one mantra rules my eating life, it is surely this: Eat what is in season. The reasons are simple. If it’s in season, it’s bountiful. When there’s plenty of it, it’s cheaper. When it’s in season, it is practically guaranteed to be locally-grown and easier on the planet’s resources. And, by eating only when food is in season, we are most likely to have a greater variety of food than by sticking to the same old favourites week after week.
Which brings me to another food-related mantra – I love Autumn more than any other time of year. With late summer harvests, the frenzy of bottling and preserving, the amazing range of fruit and vegetables available in this short window, now is the perfect time to celebrate Mother Earth.
I love pears at this time of year and perhaps more than any other fruit in their extended family, they offer much more in the way of subtlety and nuanced notes in whatever dish they are in. When we think of dessert we know pears go with honey, with butter, with red wine, with dark chocolate. But
Oh yes indeed. Th earthiness of thyme adds a perfect end-note to a rich caramel syrup. With added Vincotto in place of vanilla and a few almond biscotti on the side rather than a sweet cream or ice cream, the thyme shines through without overwhelming the dish or reminding you of a pork roast.
With most varieties of pears at their seasonal best throughout the country right now, do try this dessert when you get the chance for a grown up version of an old favourite. I used Buerre Bosc for this recipe but Bartlett or smaller Corella pears work just as well. I left the skins on so look for unblemished specimens where possible. It’s the perfect taste of Autumn.