So it turns out that nashis are not pears crossed with apples. And they’re not named nashis because they make great snacks, although you’d think so around our house. Nashi is actually the Japanese word for pear, because that’s what they are. They’re shaped differently because they evolved far away from the other pear varieties that we’re used to, in Asia. I was so glad to learn that they’re not just a hybrid, they’re actually an “exotic” import.
Now what to do with nashis when you have a tree hanging heavy with them?
Apparently in their native countries of Japan, China and Korea, nashis are appreciated for their delicate nature and considered special just as they are. Rather than bake, puree or bottle these juicy treats, people in these countries offer them as gifts.
However, I did find a Korean recipe containing an intriguing combination of flavours including honey, black pepper and pine nuts. It’s called Baesuk (or Baesook) and while I followed the simple recipe on Taste, I also found some traditional variations at Korea Times and Gangnam Kitchen (a blog named for the district, not the dance, I gather) that I’d like to try in future.
This is one of those recipes that you might not stumble across unless you were seeking something unusual, and the flavours and textures don’t appear to be made for each other. But it was very easy to make, and really very delicious. I already thought the nashis were great snacks, but tasting baesuk was like experiencing another culture without setting foot outside my front door (except to go pick more nashis). Highly recommended!