Spiced Pears

Source: Durga's Kitchen Newsletter

In the dormant chilly seasons thereís no better reminder of summerís satisfying abundance than the juiciness of a tender, plump, sweet, ripe pear. The featured recipe, Spiced Pears, uses the juice of pear and other fruit along with cardamom and coriander for poaching fresh pears. This recipe is adapted from Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners, where Amadea Morningstar rates each of her recipes for its overall effect on the doshas. This one is rated as sattvic, calming to pitta and kapha, and just mildly increasing to vata.

 As Iíve found with many an Indian dish, Spiced Pears is a bearer of great secrets: it feels rich, but itsí ingredients are light; itsí subtle flavor expresses several layers, but it uses just a few simple ingredients; and itís elegant, but inexpensive, quick, and easy to prepare. The delicate combination of sweet, spice, tang and lightness will provide an exquisite accompaniment for many a substantial savory meal. 

Spiced Pears

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6 

Ingredients

1 small lemon

Ĺ cup apple juice concentrate

Ĺ cup water

1 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom (the seeds from about 16 green pods)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

6 ripe Bartlett pears

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup (+ or - depending on the pearsí sweetness, the lemonís sourness, and personal taste)

fresh-toasted, slivered, blanched almonds 

Directions

1.        Wash and chop the lemon, remove itsí seeds and puree it in blender.

2.        Add the apple juice concentrate, water, freshly ground cardamom and ground coriander, and blend everything just until mixed.

3.        Put the mixture on the stovetop in a wide shallow pan and heat it on a low setting.

4.        While the mixture heats, peel the pears and cut them in half. Remove the cores, and place them face down in the pan.

5.        Cover the pan and simmer the pears until theyíre soft, about 10-15 minutes.

6.        Remove the pears and place them in a festive dessert dish (or place 2 halves per bowl in individual serving bowls).

7.        On the lowest level of heat, continue cooking the mixture down for another 10 or so minutes, until it becomes thick and syrupy. 

8.        Put the vanilla on a spot in the pan away from the simmering sauce to flash-cook it and steam off the alcohol, and then mix everything together.

9.        Add the maple syrup and mix again.

10.     For a more liquid sauce, mix in a bit of water and heat through.

11.     Remove the pan from the heat.

12.     Pour the sauce over the pears.

13.     Serve the pears either at once, or after they have cooled, generously sprinkled with toasted almond slivers.