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
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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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    30-Minute Paleo Pumpkin Butter

    Paleo Pumpkin Butter

    Things have been busy as ever around here, which means two things:

    1) I could really go for a sweet-tooth fix

    2) It would be great if that fix was quick to whip up... and by quick, I mean it should take less time to get in my tummy than it does for me to watch the latest episode of Survivor. 

    Paleo Pumpkin Butter

    The answer, dear readers, is pumpkin butter. It's smooth, it's sweet, and I typically have all of the ingredients on hand. And did I mention no refined sugars?! Pumpkin butter is the dream. Apple butter is pretty good too. 

    And sure, pumpkin butter is also great because you can spread it on things, but who does that when they can just eat it straight off the spoon? One of my favorite movies as a kid was Mary Poppins... as Mary always says, A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down! I'm sure she was referring to wholesome, natural sugars found in fruits, right? 😉

    Paleo Pumpkin Butter

    Anyways, it's working for me this week-- pumpkin butter is where it's at. 

    Paleo Pumpkin Butter

    30-Minute Paleo Pumpkin Butter

    Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

    Spread it on bread, eat it with crackers or apples, swirl it into yogurt.

    Yields: 1.5 cups   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin
    • 1 apple
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

    Directions:

    1. Blend the apple with the water until pureed. Strain the juice into a sauce pan.
    2. Stir the pumpkin with the apple juice. Add the honey and the spices and whisk until fully combined.
    3. Place over low heat, cover and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook for 30 minutes, and then turn off the stove and uncover to allow the pumpkin butter to cool. Store in jar.

    5 Comments

    Apple Butter in a Slow Cooker

    On Friday afternoon, I sat down in front of my computer to write on of the few blog posts I had quequed up. I wasn't really sure which one I was going to write, so I pulled up my Apple Butter draft and stared at the pictures I had loaded into the form days before. I took a sip of my chai, hoping something would come to me. I took a second sip, hoping it would wash down my headach, or least make my day 36 hours instead of 24.

    I wish I could say that I found the answer to everything in that mug, but by the time it was empty I still hadn't written a single word. It was Friday, and my brain was done. Not the sort of done where you can't think of any ideas you like--the sort of done where you just don't have any ideas at all, just white noise filling the space between your ears.

    Needless to say, nothing was written. I closed my computer and tried to think of places a person could go take a nap in town. The park? Too cold. The University Library? It was tempting, but finding parking would probably use my entire hour of free time. I was just going to have to suck it up. Besides, what I really wanted was to go home, have a scoop of this apple butter (or a few scoops!) and just go straight to bed, and there wasn't time for that.

    You know how they always tell you to listen to your body? I should've just gone home. Trying to suck it up for the rest of the day exhausted me, and even after a night of sleep all I wanted to do was eat apple butter and sit on the couch. I'm not ashamed--I slept more than the cat on Saturday (ok, a little bit ashamed). 

    Morale of the the story: Listen to your body, especially when it's telling you to eat this apple butter and take a nap. 

    PS: This apple butter has no added sugar! (Who needs to add sugar to apples??) It's just apples, spices, and time. Man, I totally should've just gone home and eaten the whole jar. 

    PSS: If you're paleo, and you're wondering what to eat your apple butter on, scroll to the end of the recipe for some ideas! 

    Paleo ways to enjoy apple butter: 

    • Straight off a spoon (this is the best)

    • Like caramel sauce over homemade coconut ice cream (no really, try this.)

    • Swirl it with almond butter and dip slice slices into it (apple on apples? Why not!) 

    • Did I mention eating it right off the spoon?

    • Smothered over pork chops or used in the pan sauce

    • In a smoothie

    • (Primal) Over yogurt or cottage cheese

    • Forget the pumpkin spice latte--September is for Apple Spice Lattes! (use a scoop to sweeten your latte)

    Apple Butter in the Slow Cooker

    Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

    I like to leave my apple butter a little chunky — the bigger pieces of apple transform into sweet caramelly treats.

    Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 5-6 pounds apples
    • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

    Directions:

    1. Wash the apples. Slice them, removing the seeds and endocarp (thats the pithy center). Set about 2 cups of sliced apples aside. Put the remaining sliced apples in a blender, and puree (I did this in several batches).
    2. Arrange the reserved sliced apples in a even layer on the bottom of the slow cooker. Leaving these apples whole adds texture to the finished butter, and as the slices caramelize, they turn into soft bites of caramelly fall goodness.
    3. Add the spices to the blender, and pulse it a few times until they're mixed in. Pour the puree into the slow cooker. Place the lid on the slow cooker and turn it to medium heat for 8 hours. After 8 hours, stir the butter. It should be thick now. If you wish, stir in more spices to taste. Optional: If you want your apple butter a little bit thicker, turn the slow cooker back on for 4-6 more hours (every slow cooker is different, and yours might not need this).
    4. Spoon finished butter into jars with air-tight lids.

    8 Comments