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Bake your pears for even more flavor

Then pair them with this nutty, spiced granola.

It’s not just pumpkin spice that gets my kitchen in a festive place this time of year.

For me, pears are synonymous with fall and all the warm spices associated with the season.

I’m often too impatient to let pears ripen on my counter, though, and rarely are they soft enough to be eaten straight from the grocery store. So I usually roast them for a while in the oven, letting the heat do the softening.

When combined with butter and some maple syrup and spices, baked pears become a special treat. I like to make a big batch and keep it on hand to spoon over ice cream, cookies, cake, even my morning yogurt bowl.

They are especially good paired with granola, so I have included a recipe for one of my favorites below. It’s nutty and slightly sweet and spiced with cardamom, which I love in baking. A little bit goes a long way.

This recipe would absolutely work with apples, too, another fall fruit staple.

Baked Pears With Granola

For the granola:

2 cups oats

⅔ cup sliced almonds or walnuts

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

⅔ cup shredded sweetened coconut

½ cup maple syrup

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

Pinch of salt

For the pears:

2 or 3 Bartlett pears, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all granola ingredients in a large bowl and mix to fully combine.

Spread the mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 25 or 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn; it should be fragrant and toasty but not too dark.

When that’s out of the oven, put the pears in a glass baking dish. Add butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt and mix to combine.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until pears become soft (it will take longer the less ripe they are) and give off their juices. Stir well, then let cool.

Serve with granola, atop yogurt or ice cream or whatever you like.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

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