Cardamom-infused baked pears, topped with an irresistible quinoa-nut crunch. A quick and easy dessert, naturally sweetened.
After my sugar-free apple tart recipe earlier this week, I’m back today with another healthy fruit recipe. This time I swapped apples for pears, another seasonal delight to celebrate. And again I prepared it in a very simple way so you can really enjoy the taste of the fruit itself, rather than fooling your senses with the sweet taste of sugar.
As far as I can remember, I have always struggled with eating raw fruit (unlike vegetables that I adore). I guess it has something to do with the texture and probably a psychological effect that I don’t really understand myself. The thing is, I actually like the taste of fruit; I just don’t go for them naturally when they are raw, so I always need to find some tricks to make me eat more of them. Anyone relate? It seems I’m the only weirdo in the world regarding this matter…
This pear recipe is just the right one for me, and for you too, hopefully. The pears are baked in the oven with a light syrup, until they become a melt-in-your-mouth kind of bite. The syrup is really simple and naturally sweetened with honey that you can replace with maple or agave syrup for a 100% vegan version. Note that the recipe is not sugar-free, honey contains sugar, but it’s a natural and non-processed sugar.
The honey/maple/agave syrup quantity I recommend for the syrup recipe is purely indicative. I personally made the choice of cutting the honey with water to have the same quantity of syrup with less sugar. However, the recipe is very forgiving and you can add more or less honey and even adjust the honey-water ratio according to your own tastes. For an even fancier version, replace water with a liquor of your choice!
I add some freshly ground cardamom to the syrup. It is very important to grind it at the last minute to keep all the aromas intact (cardamom oxidizes very quickly). Let cardamom infuse in the syrup, then pour it over the pears, reserving some for basting later. Again here, you can use all the syrup or just a little and let the guests decide if they want to add a little bit more themselves when you serve the pears.
Now one of my favorite parts is of course the quinoa-nut crunch to serve on top of the baked pears. Here, the contrast of texture is just magical: tender and melt-in-your-mouth baked pears with all the crunchiness of the puffed quinoa-nut crunch. You can find some ready-to-use puffed quinoa in some stores. If not, you can always prepare homemade puffed quinoa by following the instructions at the bottom of the recipe. It will add some extra crunchiness to your topping.
You can serve the cardamom-infused pears still warm or lukewarm. Top with one tablespoon of the quinoa-nut crunch, with rose petals if you have some (it just makes it even more beautiful, plus rose and cardamom pair beautifully). Last but not least, you can also serve these pears for breakfast on top of a warm winter porridge. Heaven!
- ½ cup (85g) puffed quinoa*
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tablespoon honey or maple/agave syrup for vegan version
- ½ cup (90g) hazelnuts, chopped
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1-2 teaspoon rose petals (optional)
- 5 semi-ripe pears
- ¼ cup (60 ml) honey or maple/agave syrup for vegan version
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine puffed quinoa* and chopped hazelnuts with coconut oil and honey/agave/maple syrup. Add a pinch of salt and stir well.
- Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 380°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small pot, bring water and honey/maple syrup to a simmer. Add freshly ground cardamom and stir.
- Peel, core and cut the pears in half, lengthwise, and arrange on the baking sheet.
- Pour half of the syrup over the pears and bake for about 30-40 minutes, basting the pears with more syrup as needed, until tender and beginning to caramelize around the edges.
- Serve the baked pears with the quinoa-nut crunch and sprinkle additional rose petals over. For breakfast option, serve over warm porridge.