Thursday, April 16, 2015

Low n' Slow Baked Asian Pears

One of the best things about biting into an Asian pear is their crunchy, almost explosively juicy nature. They're totally unassuming on the surface, unlike peaches which - when perfectly ripe - demand you be over the sink or outside to break into. No, Asian pears are for all intents and purposes an apple to the outsider, but once their thin skin is punctured those napkins or faucet best be nearby for the deluge of sweet nectar hiding inside.

I wondered, then, if I could take advantage of both the aspects packing this favourite fruit of mine and transform it into a dish that was the best of both. I had been hoarding a Dorie Greenspan recipe in my bookmarks folder for what seems like ages, and since I had these very appley pears in my possession I thought this would be the perfect time to try it out! 

Low n' Slow Baked Asian Pears

What I loved was that the whole thing is nothing more than fruit, sugar, spices, and a touch of butter. In my case, I used wafer-thin slices of Asian pears, a slightly exotic-smelling spice mixture, vanilla sugar and fruity, cold-pressed coconut oil. Then, like how Mother Nature makes diamonds, time, pressure and heat work their magic little by little until out comes this wonderfully silky, comforting, melt-in-your-mouth creation that you can't help but want to dig right into. The original recipe used ramekins, but since mine are in storage in the loft in the basement somewhere unknown to me at this moment I substituted a 6" square glass dish weighed with a small cast iron skillet. 

Low n' Slow Baked Asian PearsWhen I say you want to eat it with everything, you truly do - my family dug into this with vanilla and caramel gelato, plain Greek yogurt, morning oatmeal, pancakes, and simply au natural. In fact, my mom was looking at serving this alongside a pork roast for dinner, but then someone - ahem - ate the last of it as a midday snack.

Shared with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Low n' Slow Baked Asian Pears
Makes one 6” square pan, 4 servings
¼ cup vanilla sugar
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cardamom
2 large Asian pears (I used the yellow-skinned type), peeled, cored and sliced as thin as possible*
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 300°F. Line a 6” square pan with foil, then parchment, extending edges over the sides.
  2. Combine the sugar and spices in a small dish, set aside.
  3. Layer pear slices, overlapping them slightly, over the bottom of the dish.
  4. After you complete 2 layers of fruit, brush lightly with coconut oil and sprinkle with sugar mixture.
  5. Repeat until all the fruit is used up, finishing with spiced sugar.
  6. Place a square of parchment on top of the fruit, fold the foil edges overtop and wrap in another layer of foil. Pierce layers of foil and parchment 2-3 times to vent steam.
  7. Place on a baking sheet and place a weight on top (I used a 5-inch cast iron skillet).
  8. Bake for 2 ¼ - 2 ½ hours.
  9. Turn off the oven, leaving the weighted dish inside, and let sit for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove to a wire rack and remove the weight and top coverings. Cool to room temperature.
  11. Store, covered, in the fridge.
 *I used my mandoline to get approximately .75mm slices. If you don’t have one, use a knife and make them as thin as you can

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 170.4
Total Fat: 7.3 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.0 mg
Total Carbs: 27.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.0 g
Protein: 0.7 g