The truth is, for me, that dessert has never been about fruit. My ideal dessert centers around richness, carbohydrates, and chocolate. But after 5 busy, fairly stressful weeks in Cleveland helping my dad care for my mom during which I comforted and indulged myself with nearly daily lattes at Starbucks, chocolate bars, and the occasional “fourth meal,” I needed to dial things back just a tad when I returned to Oklahoma. (In my defense, I took long walks in the mornings, squeezed in some workouts, and took yoga classes several times a week – balance, right?) Effortless also sounded pretty good, so when I saw the beautiful d’Anjou pears Kel had bought the idea of simple baked pears for a quick post-dinner dessert sounded exactly right.
With a minimum of ingredients and very little fuss, these pears bake while you prepare and eat dinner. They would also be delicious served over hearty steel-cut oats or other grain (or solo) for a comforting winter breakfast. I’ve made this recipe several times since getting back home – and barely miss the chocolate bars!
- 2 large d'Anjou (red) pears
- 1/4 cup water or apple juice
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- pinch ground cinnamon
- pinch ground ginger
- pinch allspice
- 4 Medjool dates, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Put 1/4 cup water or juice in a square baking dish.
- Cut the pears in half and carefully scoop out the seeds, making a deep bowl. You can use a melon baller, but a small spoon works just as well.
- In a small bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, dates, and maple syrup and stir to combine. Divide the mixture between the pears. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Test the pears for tenderness with the tip of a knife. If the flesh is still firm, continue to bake, covered until tender.
- Serve immediately.
- It (almost) goes without saying that this dessert would taste extra luscious with coconut whipped cream or vegan vanilla ice cream. Or grate a little orange zest on top just before serving.