Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

A big box showed up in our dining room in mid-September with my name on the shipping label. 

It was my birthday but I still scratched my head. This September, I had been so stressed that I mostly avoided the topic of my birthday or gifts with anyone that asked— I certainly didn’t need anything, but I also just couldn’t find a minute to think about it clearly.

I had ordered nothing from Amazon myself (though in the same minute that thought entered my mind I also started doubting myself— had I hit “buy now” on that Dehydrator I had been eyeing instead of “add to cart?”). 

When I got halfway through opening the box with a paring knife and found it was a Dehydrator, I doubted myself even further. So much so, that I stopped right there and pulled out my phone to check my Amazon order history.

Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

Relief washed over me when I saw I had placed no orders in the last month, but I still had a mystery on my hands. I finished unpacking the appliance before drilling Oliver on who had bought it. It probably took me four tries to get it right, but when I did land on my dad it all made sense. I had given him a non-answer when he had asked about my birthday in general, so he had asked Oliver.

This new dehydrator was about five times nicer than any of the ones I was planning to buy myself! Quieter, easy to use, and has a timer (key, if you ask me!). It’s the Excalibur 5-Tray Dehydrator (affiliate link!). (THANKS DAD!)

So far, my absolute favorite thing to dehydrate has been pears.

This recipe is inspired by one I found in Dried and True (affiliate link), a cookbook that takes dehydrating to the next level, moving it from boring old-fashioned recipes to new, inventive, and tantalizing flavors. I made the Dried Vanilla Pears from the book twice before venturing out on my own.

Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

As soon as our first fall day hit, I immediately was dreaming about warmer flavors, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Chai. And that’s how these pears came to be — a day dream, like most of my recipes 😉

In real life, each slice of pear was such a treat, I savored every one. We took them hiking, ate them around the house, and packed them in our bags for outings around town. I always looked forward to those delicious pears. I thought, for about 5 seconds, about sharing them with a few coworkers but greed got the best of me and I kept it to myself. Sharing the recipe is almost as good, right?!

This recipe is good for dehydrating-pros or a newbies like me. Make it while the pears are at their peak! I used Starkrimson Pears one round and Colorado Heirloom Pears another; Bartlette and D’Anjou would also be great.

Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

Published October 16, 2018 by
   Print This Recipe

Yield: 20 slices   |    Active Time: 8-9 hours



Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe pears Starkrimson
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 slices of fresh ginger - each about the size of a nickel
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground cloves

  • Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients but the pears in a sauce pan, and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
    2. Wash pears and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Remove seeds and cut of stems as you go.
    3. Work with 3-4 pear slices at once: submerge pears in syrup on the stove, simmering slices for 10 minutes. Pears should be softened through but should not fall apart easily.
    4. Use a slotted spoon to remove slices from syrup and set on a plate to cool for several minutes.
    5. When all of the pears are done, spread them out on the wracks of your dehydrator (I use this one - affiliate link!), with at least 1/4-inch of space between each slice.
    6. Place wrack in dehydrator and set to 135°F for 8-10 hours, until pears are dried but still chewy.

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    Cranberry Pear Tart

    Cranberry Pear Tart

    Traditional Thanksgiving isn't in the cards for us this year, which is fine because we're not much for celebrating holidays "the traditional way". Traditional is a funny word isn't it? Opting outside is more of a holiday tradition for us--it's what we normally choose to do when we have plenty of time off from work.

    Since actual Turkey Day is typically reserved for adventuring, we eat more Thanksgiving fare before and after the holiday, at potlucks and work parties and Friendsgiving celebrations.

    Preparing for Friendsgiving is a whole different beast than preparing for a family holiday: the family usually has at least a semi-planned menu, so you know what you’re supposed to bring.  But Friendsgiving (at least the way we do it) is a lot more casual. Everyone brings what they want, a little slice of what Thanksgiving means to them (or whatever they had time to pick up at the store). Both events usually have plenty (err, too much) food, but at Friendsgiving I find there are always a lot more repeats, like four pumpkin pies and three salads and then only one pot of mash potatoes. You've been to one of those potlucks right? You know what I'm talking about.

    Cranberry Pear Tart
    Cranberry Pear Tart

    I was thinking about this very predicament when I started making this tart. You see, I really wanted pumpkin pie (hello, it's pumpkin pie, who doesn't want a slice?!). But I knew there would already be at least one other pumpkin pie. So I decided to go in a whole new direction: something without pumpkin, or pecans, but still perfect for fall. 

    This Cranberry Pear Tart? Ding!

    Pears don't get the attention that pumpkin gets this time of year, but they deserve a little time in the limelight. This tart, laced with just a hint of cinnamon, maple syrup, and fresh orange zest, is the perfect offbeat dessert for any Thanksgiving potluck, Friendsgiving or other fall get-together.

    Something else to love about this Cranberry Pear Tart: it’s pretty much just fruit in a pie crust (whatever pie crust you like, though I use this crust recipe to make it paleo-friendly) which means that it doesn’t have the same super heavy feeling that pecan or pumpkin pies do. Which means.... you can have a slice of each and the Cranberry Pear Tart will round out the trio! 😉

    (Ehem. While we are talking about pecan pie, let's talk about pecan pie! My love.)

    Cranberry Pear Tart
    Cranberry Pear Tart

    The other great thing about the fruit-in-crust situation is that it is reallllllly easy to make this tart. Slice up those pears, pop 'em in your crust, and arrange the cranberries with the maple sauce. Cook. Top with whipped cream. Eat. Lick plate. Done. 

    Wishing you all safe travels and a happy Thanksgiving, whatever that means for you! 🤗

    Cranberry Pear Tart

    Published November 16, 2017 by
       |     Print This Recipe

    Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 60 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 batch of pie crust dough ( Try this Paleo pie crust)
    • 2 large Red Crimson pears - about 1/2 pound (D'Anjou or Bosc would also work)
    • Heaping 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon orange zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons corn starch (for Paleo, sub 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder)
    • 1 tablespoon cold water
    • Whipped cream, coconut cream, or ice cream for serving.

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease an 8-inch pie pan. Rough pie crust to 1/8 inch thickness using a rolling pin, and fit to pie pan. Trim edges as necessary, and set aside.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and the corn starch until full combined. Then, whisk in the maple syrup, orange zest, and cinnamon. Add the cranberries and stir so they are coated.
    3. Slice pears in half, and remove core. Then, slice thin (1/8 inch thick) and arrange in prepared pie crust.
    4. Once all pear slices are arranged in crust, arrange cranberries over top, pouring the maple syrup mixture over pears as you go. Use a brush to spread the maple syrup mixture over pears so they are all coated.
    5. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until tart is bubbling, crust is golden, and pears are tender. Serve with whipped cream, coconut cream, or ice cream.

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    Baklava Stuffed Pears

    Baklava Stuffed Pears

    When my dad hosted parties, he had a rule that no one else was allowed in the kitchen. Someone would try and he was tisk them: Uh-uh! and shoo them away. Dinner was his work of art; doing it all was his version of hospitality. No one would chop a vegetable other than he and occasionally, his assistant— me. 

    Baklava Stuffed Pears

    Every night was a different theme: sushi, Ethiopian, Mexican. Middle Eastern night fell short of none. Layers of phyllo dough were painted with butter, and toasted nuts were piled in-between, and small squares of baklava were drizzled with citrus infused honey. 

    To me, new roots, are a redefinition of your childhood traditions, in a new light. These baklava stuffed pears are exactly that. Reminiscent of those baklava squares, baked into a fresh new vehicle. Lighter, fruitier... a fusion of new and old. 

    Baklava Stuffed Pears
    Baklava Stuffed Pears

    The mix of pears with spices, honey, and nuts taste like an quintessential fall dish, one that you can dress up or down depending on what you’re craving: plain, with yogurt or oatmeal, or alongside a scoop of ice cream drizzled with chocolate. 

    Baklava Stuffed Pears

    Baklava Stuffed Pears

    Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

    Baklava gets a twist when baked right into ripe pears!

    Serves: 10   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 5 pears
    • 1/2 cup nuts (mix of walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts)
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/16 teaspoon cloves
    • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
    • 2 tablespoons honey

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash the pears, and half each one. Use a pairing knife to remove the seeds & pithy centers. Place the pears flesh-side-up in a baking dish.
    2. In a food processor, pulse the nuts, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and cloves until nuts are roughly chopped. Use a spoon to scoop the nut mixture into the cavity of the pears, creating mounds of nuts on each one.
    3. Then, heat the lemon juice, butter, and honey in a small sauce pan until they simmer. Remove from heat. Use a brush to spread the butter mixture over each pear.
    4. Place pan in oven and bake until pears are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold, plain, with ice cream, or over yogurt or oatmeal.

    2 Comments