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Shopping for Pear Trees & Upside-Down Pear Cake

That wonderful ‘warm’ weather we had last week didn’t last for long. However, it did last long enough for David and me to go out yesterday and buy a couple of pear trees to set out. Ordinarily we wouldn’t do something like that on a weekday but we were without power yesterday. The electric co-op was ‘doing maintenance work’ – so we were pretty much dead stopped. You don’t realize what all you can’t do without electricity until you don’t have it.

We took a drive down some East Texas country roads until we found a nursery (recommended by Cousin Joe) that sold fruit trees suited to this area. The old gentleman running it had all kinds of trees – pear, plum, peach and apple. I didn’t know you could grow apples here in Texas. He took us out into the ‘patch’ where he had them growing. Coming from the city, I’m used to buying my trees, plants, etc. from the nurseries there in pots – big pots! Not here. These trees appeared to be growing right in the ground. Hmmmmm…surely they MUST be in pots in the ground, I just couldn’t see the pots….right? Nope. When we picked our trees he yanked them right up – roots and all! I was stunned. There was a little dirt hanging on to the roots – but he make quick work of that and washed it right off!! OK, so now we’ve got pear trees with no limbs and naked roots. They look like walking sticks that need to be trimmed. The whole time I’m wondering…’can these things survive?!’ The old gentleman running the shop – seemed confident they would – so we brought them home. On getting home (power is back on – yeah!!) we immediately set out to plant our two stick pear trees. It is supposed to start raining and getting really, really cold, and I’m not letting those roots be exposed to any more air than necessary. We put them in the orchard area and planted them according to Mr. Russel’s directions. So right now my pear trees are planted per instructions, getting soaked in the rain and likely to freeze tonight. I have high hopes for them though. When they start producing they’ll have crisp pears (don’t like those mushy ones) and be good for eating or cooking.

This link is for a good half-sugar free recipe for a pear crisp. Pears are also good when used in pies with apples, plums and peaches.

And if, you’re looking for an alternative pear recipe, we like upside-down pear cake. Using a store bought cake mix makes it easy. My version is to use only half of the cake mix (per box directions), 2-3 sliced pears, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Mix up half (or less) of the cake mix (my secret to a better boxed cake is to add an extra egg, add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla and use real butter instead of oil).

In a round baking dish or flan pan, place 1 tablespoon of thin butter slices on the bottom. Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar over the butter, shake a little cinnamon over the brown sugar and then lay the pear slices on top in a circle.

Pour the cake batter over the top and bake at 325-330 degrees until done. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes and then turn cake out onto a flat plate and enjoy!


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