Baked Pears and St. Valentine’s Day, Or It’s Not About Chocolate

As the sweetest holiday approaches, I get more and more excited. Where to go for dinner? What to wear? What present to buy? While choosing a romantic vegan restaurant (or at least the one that is willing to make changes per our usual request) is not a big problem, the question of dessert is yet open.

If the restaurant is not vegan, the best option it offers is usually sorbet. While I do like sorbet, I would not mind trying something different. If the place is vegan, then it is easier to find something else on the dessert menu, but again, not always a win-win. The problem I face is the amount of sugar desserts are loaded with. This is not true for all including vegan places, but as I have been on my vegan journey almost a year and a half, I am used to choosing my desserts more carefully than any other dish.

Also, I feel like it is more personal to make at least a dessert for the holiday dinner rather than putting the whole feast in the hands of fortune. So what to cook for St. Valentine’s Day dinner, considering that it’s . . . Tuesday? Not as much time for imagination as if the weekend were around the corner. I know; you’re going to say that making a dessert in advance is not a big deal. It isn’t, but a freshly cooked dish is always better, right? I feel like chocolate is out of the picture this year. (My fridge is usually loaded with homemade vegan chocolate, so it would not be such a big deal to add it in some other form to the available selection, despite the tradition.) Raw cake? It feels a little too chilly outside for that kind of treat. It’s also a challenge to make in an hour or so as it must sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to solidify.

So here it is—a new recipe for my Baked Pears with Walnuts, Jam, and Ice Cream that is ready in twenty to forty minutes and fills the kitchen with the smell of the spices and the holiday. It is so easy to make something special for those you love, and I am going to share with you how it’s done.

My recipe requires your favorite ice cream and jam. Feel free to substitute jam with coconut syrup or liquid chocolate—just keep in mind that pears are really sweet when baked, so choose toppings wisely. I often serve them with homemade ice cream and homemade triple-berry jam, the recipes I am polishing at the moment.

Pears are so loaded with much-needed vitamins and minerals that you should appreciate them being in season and get as many benefits as possible. One pear contains approximately fifteen percent of the daily-recommended amount of copper, which is responsible for a healthy nervous system. While antioxidants help protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals, the vitamin K in pears prevents blood clots. Fiber helps the digestive system function smoothly, and folate is one of the essential minerals needed by those who are planning or expecting a baby. Just give pears a chance to become one of your favorite fruit.

As I already wrote a little about walnuts in my recipe Fig-and-Walnut Chocolate Candies, I am going to say a few more words about cinnamon, one of my favorite spices. Cinnamon is a delicious addition to many dishes and drinks. I always have both rolls and powder in my kitchen. To almost every tea I drink, I add a roll of cinnamon to enhance the flavor and add anti-inflammatory properties. The powder also is my flavor choice for breakfast oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, cookies, and more. Cinnamon decreases the level of glucose that enters the body after a meal and, as a result, it has an antidiabetic effect. It helps fight inflammation, and it may become an additional resource to fight cancer. Cinnamon is also helpful in dealing with colds and other respiratory diseases as it helps the immune system activate its resources against sicknesses.

OK, let’s have less talking and more cooking. The main components in the recipe are highlighted below, but feel free to substitute.

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Baked Pears with Walnuts, Jam, and Ice Cream

Ingridients:

4 ripened but firm pears

1/3 cup of raw walnuts

Cinnamon

Cloves

Coconut oil

1 cup of jam

Ice cream

Parchment paper

Baking tray/iron skillet

Directions:

  1. Wash the pears and pat them dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Cover your baking tray with parchment paper or oil your iron skillet with coconut oil.
  4. Cut the pears in half lengthwise and place on the tray.
  5. Sprinkle halves with cinnamon and cloves and place in the oven.
  6. After 20 minutes in the oven, stick pears with a fork. The halves should be soft and juicy but firm. Add another 5-20 minutes until you are able to cut the pear with a fork.
  7. Take the pairs out of the oven and transfer as many halves as needed onto the serving plate. (They are so good that you start with two halves for sure. You do not want to run to the kitchen every five minutes to bring more to the table.)
  8. Place a scoop of your favorite ice cream on the pears.
  9. Pour a few tsp. of jam on top and garnish your dessert with walnuts.
  10. Serve immediately!

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TIP: Pear leftovers (without toppings) are easily stored in a fridge for a few days—if there are any left. Follow steps 8-10 before serving.

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This recipe is simple and too good not to be made!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Have a great and tasty holiday. Make it special and sweet!

Enjoy!

 

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