Friday, August 03, 2007

8 Quick Random Facts About: Me and Pears

Pear and Hazelnut Bread Pudding

In my grand tradition of responding to memes dutifully tardy, here is my response to Kelly, Myriam and Jerry’s tag of 8 things you didn't know about me. And to keep this post somewhat food related and to also provide a smooth segue into the following pear and hazelnut recipe, I thought I would share some quick facts about pears as well. (The pear facts come from all over the Internet)

She was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Australia when she was six with her family. She has called Australia home since then.

Pears that are left to ripen on the tree will turn mealy and unappetising. So most ears are actually picked before they are ripe and are left to ripen in the shop or at home.

Jen once had to get stitches in her cranium when she was about 5, after an unfortunate mishap while trying to prove she was old enough to bathe herself. To avoid being too graphic, all I will say is that she put her head under a faucet when the accident occurred.

A flavourful pear will actually have brown speckles on the skin, known as “russeting,” which enhance the flavour of the pear.

In the same year, Jen almost had to get stitches in her chin, after another unfortunate sporting accident where she miscalculated the trajectory of an incoming ball and consequently dove in to catch it only to find the ball falling about a foot from where her chin eventually hit the ground. Ouch!
As you can see Jen is pretty accident prone.

Pears contain no cholesterol, sodium, or saturated fat!

Jen and some of her mischievous friends in Year 9 got caught skipping school a number of times and had to stay back and scrape gum off the bottom of the desks. A friend's dad (who we thought was the coolest) actually helped us by picking us up from school after detention and telling our parents that we had some sort of after school study group. To this day our parents have no clue. Maybe up until now, sorry Mum.

How do you judge a pear’s ripeness? Apply gentle thumb pressure near the base of the stem. If it yields to gentle pressure it's ripe. Others simply tug on the stem; when it comes out, it's ready to eat.

Pear and Hazelnut Bread Pudding

Inadvertently ended up in the local newspaper when she was in Year 6. The newspaper was doing an article about the first ever students to use the internet at school. What really happened was, the group of boys who actually were the ones who used the Internet were away at a football match so our teacher said that we could go in on their behalf and alas, our photographs ended up in the newspaper.

A pear is a nutrient dense food, providing more nutrients per calorie, than calories per nutrient.

Jen secretly loves to eat Nutella and peanut butter straight out of the jar. It's kind of embarrassing, but everyone has their vices and this is her Achilles heel. So let's just keep that one to ourselves okay.

Pears will ripen faster if placed next to bananas in a fruit bowl and they stay fresh for longer if kept in a fridge.

Another food fact about Jen is that she cannot stand to eat cereal of any kind in the morning. But come night time, it's cereal all the way. She must have some sort or glitch in her internal body clock or something.

In some Eastern cultures, pears are also known as the fruit of planning. People who consume pears are believed to have superior organisational skills.

Jen hates to drive. She prefers to be the passenger and will find any excuse not to drive anywhere.

Levulose, which is the sweetest known natural sugar, is found to a greater extent in fresh pears than in any other fruit.

And if you want to know some more bizarre things about this blogger, then check out this meme about the weird things about how I eat. And without making this post seem like an hour of aimless palaver about myself, here is the recipe for a pear and hazelnut bread pudding I made recently. It’s a simple and rustic recipe that can be prepared in no time. Most of the time spent is in its baking, so all you have to do is lazily sit back and wait for this sumptuous dessert to emerge from the oven.

Pear and Hazelnut Bread Pudding

Custard is probably one of the most comforting things about winter, and this bread pudding oozes comforts all over. From the smooth custard and the sweet vanilla soaked bread to the caramelised pears and the melted layers of Nutella, you will find yourself going for one heaped spoonful after another. The pudding is surprisingly light considering it contains custard and bread, and the sweetness is not overly cloying but never leaves you wanting. It’s the perfect after-dinner dessert to curl up on the couch to.

Pear and Hazelnut Bread Pudding

adapted from Fresh Living, June 2005
serves 4

Pear and Hazelnut Bread Pudding

butter for greasing
6 slices of oatbran & honey bread, crusts removed, halved diagonally
2 tbs Nutella
2 beurre bosc pears
2 eggs
2½ cups (625ml) milk
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Grease a 20cm square ovenproof dish lightly with butter.
Spread one side of each slice of bread with Nutella.
Stand a pear on a chopping board. Holding the top of the pear with one hand, cut three 1cm thick slices either side of the core to make six slices. Discard the core. Repeat with the remaining pears.
Layer bread slices and pears alternately into dish.
Place eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla extract in a jug and whisk until well combined.
Pour over the bread and pears.
Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the bread to soak slightly.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the custard is set.
Set aside for 5 minutes. Serve warm.


Anonymous said...

Haha, looks like you were quite the mischievous little girl! Pear bread pudding looks FANtastic!!!

Valerie Roberson said...

I also only eat cereal at night! LOL It's one of my favorite midnight snacks :D And thanks for the recipe. I think I could live solely on Nutella.

Ganesha said...

ca à l'air délicieux et terriblement fondant ! Tes photos sont vraiment superbes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,
this bread pudding look delicious. I so wish it was winter over here too! Maybe if I'm lucky it will be rainy tomorrow and I'll be able to make it ;)

Love xxx
- fanny

eatme_delicious said...

pear and hazelnut bread pudding didn't sound like something i'd like at first, but after reading your description of it i am convinced it's something i should try. :) beautiful photos too.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

what a fun post!! great to learn more about you, as well as pears :0)

Kelly Innes said...

Fascinating stuff, jenjen. I am also a secret Nutella-by-the-spoon person. Don't tell my husband.

Jerry said...

I too have had a cranium accident, splitting mine wide open. Blonde hair turned blood red. One of many head injuries I've had. Thanks for the 8 random facts.

Anonymous said...

Yummy looking dessert, and great write-up of You/Pear facts. Re: Jen Fact #3 : ouch ouch ouch!

Anonymous said...

I knew there was a reason I loved pears. Who knew there were so very many reasons.

Anonymous said...

This must be a fantastic dessert! I must do it!

kate said...

that bread pudding looks AMAZING! i can't wait to try it.


Squishy said...

Don't worry I eat peanut butter out of the jar with a teaspoon. Can't help myself. Also there is no shame in it, it's your peanut butter. Fire at will.

I am to the same with cereal, my downfall would have to be a bowl of fruit loops at about 9.30pm.

Cheers Amelita

Truffle said...

This sounds absolutely divine! I adore all the pudding recipes bloggers have been posting lately. They are so very comforting in winter.

Eva said...

What an interesting take on this old favourite of mine! And just the excuse I needed to buy another jar of Nutella..;-) I try not to buy it too often because once the jar is in my cupboard, I can't help reaching for a spoon, too...

myriam said...

hi jen. oh that was fun to read. you seemed to be quite a rockstar at school. nice pudding, too...

Daniela @Senza_Panna said...

Bellissimo il tuo blog!!
Ti ho citata in un post e messo tra i link

Ti ho linkata e citata in un post

Unknown said...

Hi Jen, this look yummy, as do the pear tarts in your previous entries. And I love the way you take the photos. Guess what, I've bought pears. Just waiting for time to try out either of these two recipes. =)

Anonymous said...

The bread pudding really look delicious. I bet they taste good too. I like your photography. Mind sharing some tips? Natural sunlight from the window? How do you deal with the shadows? I don't seems to see any shadows in your pics. Great pics always. =)