Pears are popular as a dessert fruit in Scandinavia. We love eating ripe pears with delicious matured cheese, including blue cheese and crispbread. This is way better than eating cheese with the ubiquitous grapes, which can make cheese taste like soap. Learn more about Scandinavian pear.
There is no real tradition of using pears in the kitchen, except for a few highlights. Pears will grow only in southern Scandinavia. In general, the pears we grow are the same as the rest of Europe, but we have a few very old cultivars, including the gråpære (‘grey pear) pyrus communis, a small wonderfully perfumed, juicy pear which is perfect for pickling.
Related: Fruit from Scandinavia
Pears in elderberry syrup
This is a very Nordic take on the French or Italian recipe for pears in red wine. It has a beautiful autumnal feel to it and a surprising rich flavor. The elderberry cordial can be replaced with other strongly colored/flavored fruit-juices such as cherry, blackberry, lingonberry or blackcurrant, just remember to adjust the sweetening.
4 large or 8 small slightly underripe pears
½ liter unsweetened elderberry cordial
1 cinnamon stick
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Peal the pears, keeping them whole and leaving the stalks on. Place in a deep, heavy-based pan, then add the rest of the ingredients. Heat gently and let the fruit simmer over a low heat until the pears are tender; turning them gently once in a while. The cooking time will vary a lot depending on the cultivar and ripeness of the fruit.
Take the pears out with a slotted spoon, then reduce the liquid to a thick syrup. Taste it for sweetness and add more sugar if required; this needs to be a sweet dessert, but not too sweet. Once it has cooled, pour the syrup over the pears in a pretty deep serving dish. Serve them cold as they are, or with cardamom ice cream.
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Scandinavian Pear, written by Tor Kjolberg