When a case of perfectly unripe pears are delivered to the workplace, you bide your time, filling pie shells with ordinary apples and a few wayward sour cherries found snoozing in the freezer. Every morning you glance at the wooden crate that’s practically busting with Bartletts to see if they are any further along. Cradling one in your hand you lean in hoping to catch just the slightest hint of pear fragrance, but there is none. Dressed in chartreuse, with just an occasional blush of pink splashed against their speckled exteriors, they offer as much appeal to the palate as a bowl of wax fruit.
On Friday morning, I was becoming increasingly impatient with those damn pears. Like an avocado that knows you’re hell bent on making guacamole and refuses to surrender it’s pit, my crate of pears snoozed on, oblivious to my pie plight. I set my cold brew down to let the pears know I meant business. As I removed the pears that were hunkered down towards the bottom you could see they were less chartreuse and more yellow. Not only were they unmistakably fragrant, you could hear the pear mantra. Peel. Halve. Core. Quarter. Repeat. There is an unspoken sense of urgency between pears and baker to tuck those pears into pie shells in a timely manner. The end result should be pear pie, not pear sauce. Pears are often the most challenging of autumn’s bounty as you try to temper their sweetness with just enough (but not too much) sass, generally provided by lemon and ginger. It is a delicate yet delicious balance. Why is it that the pear pie continues to be so terribly misunderstood?
I tried every trick in the book, from crystallized ginger with lattice crust to almond-oatmeal crumble and still met opposition. Sure, there were a few pear purists in the retail bunch, but for the most part, every time we said the words, “pear pie” the response was “apple?” I heard myself say to a woman desperate for a Yom Kippur dessert, “There is pear-ginger pie today. ” Watching her frown, I quickly added, “Don’t be afraid of the pear.” She bought an apple cake instead.
My favorite customer interaction of the New Year 5776 took place this past Monday, and I quote:
Pie Query Customer- “Can I order a pie for this weekend?”
NMMNP- “Yes. Sure. (Unusual for one who generally begins their sentences with, “No.”)
P.Q.C.- “Will you have apple?”
NMMNP- “Yes. Apple. Yes. And Pear.”
NMMNP- “Yes. Both.”
P.Q.C. “The apples. Are the apples new? The ones at the supermarket are old.”
P.Q.C. ”The apples? Are the apples new?”
NMMNP-“The apples, Madam? New? Yes. The baker? Not so much…”
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm