This dessert has become a surprising hit in our household, especially with our toddler who calls it “sticky pears.” I’m happy about this because the recipe comes from the cookbook, Eat Taste Heal, which serves as a guide to the ancient healing wisdom of Ayurvedic medicine. Without the whipped cream that I added as a decadent and optional topping, there is no sugar, dairy, or gluten in the recipe. You’ll be surprised just how sweet the dates and maple syrup make this delicious spiced glaze. Choose pears that are firm and sweet, such as Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, or Winter Nellis.
Poached “Sticky Pears” with Orange-Date Glaze and Cardamom Whipped Cream
(Adapted from the Ayurvedic cookbook, Eat Taste Heal, by Thomas Yarema, M.D., Daniel Rhoda, D.A.S., and Chef Johnny Brannigan; I upped the seasonings and dates for a more heavily spiced and thicker glaze, and included an optional cardamom whipped cream topping.)
- 6 ripe but firm pears
- Filtered water
- 6 dates, preferably Medjool, pitted and finely chopped
- Juice of one orange
- 2-3 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus a cinnamon stick, broken in two (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Zest of one orange
- Pinch of salt
- For the whipped cream: 1 cup cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, sugar to taste (not much is needed here)
Directions: With a paring knife, peel each pear, leaving it whole and with its stem intact. Cut a thin slice off the base of each pear so that it can stand upright. Place the pears upright in a saucepan just large enough to hold them side by side. Add an inch of water to the pan.
Place the pan over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. Add the chopped dates, orange juice, maple syrup, cinnamon (and cinnamon stick), cloves, ginger, zest, and pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until the pears are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the optional cardamom whipped cream topping, whip cream until it starts to thicken, add sugar, vanilla & cardamom and continue to whip until it reaches the desired thickness.
With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the pears from the pan, placing them upright on either a large flat serving dish or on individual serving plates. Remove cinnamon stick pieces if used.
Continue to simmer the liquid in the pan over low heat, stirring continuously for about 10 minutes. Cool slightly and use an immersion blender or transfer to an upright blender to blend into a smooth consistency. Return glaze to the pan and cook until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Spoon the glaze over the pears and serve with an optional cardamom whipped cream and sliced oranges on the side. Enjoy!
September 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm
Oo, that sticky glaze looks lovely! I can see how this would be very popular. : )
October 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm
Thanks, Allison! Yep, who doesn’t love sweet sticky glaze? 🙂
September 28, 2013 at 9:04 am
This looks quite delicious, I adore dates! And the book sounds very interesting, I just looked up its website; would you recommend it?
September 28, 2013 at 10:49 am
Hi, Darya! Thanks for asking about the book – one of these days I’d like to do book reviews on all the books I mention. I actually have mixed feelings about this one. While it was a great and thorough intro to Ayurveda, some of the recipes are amazing (I love this pear one!), and most are good (and I’ve only tried a handful), there was ONE recipe I tried that was absolutely gross, and turned me off of cilantro for a very long time. I think it’s worth getting the book if you’re curious about Ayurveda and want to broaden your recipe repertoire with new ideas, but just don’t try the “Braised Chicken with Cilantro Reduction Sauce” – or just skip the sauce, anyway! Hope that helps 🙂
September 28, 2013 at 11:34 am
I don’t know much about Ayurveda, but I often discuss Auyrvedic recipes with my yoga instructor. I would love to know more about it, which is why I asked about this book! Thank you for taking the time to answer!
September 28, 2013 at 8:16 pm
I don’t know anything abut Ayurvedic recipes. Can you give me any tips, as someone who doesn’t have that recipe book? This recipe sounds awesome – I’ll have to try it. Thanks!
October 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm
I’m not trained in Ayurvedic medicine, by any means, but the first step seems to be figuring out your “dosha,” or physical/metabolic type among 3 (or as a combination of the three). Google it and you can find dosha quizzes or descriptions. The good thing about this recipe is that it is recommended for all doshas (without the whipped cream!). You can learn what foods, daily habits, and possible supplements enhance your dosha type. I have tried a few ayurvedic practices and believe there’s a lot to learn from this wisdom, but my personal approach is everything in moderation, so I don’t follow a rigid practice. Hope that helps!
October 1, 2013 at 11:00 am
This recipe sounds utterly delicious, and the cardamom cream easily adaptable for those who don’t ‘do’ cream (cashew cream, anyone?). I think I might check out the book, but avoid the offending recipe!
October 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm
Thanks, Kellie – and I love your cashew cream suggestion!
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January 26, 2014 at 4:49 pm
Yum–I just found this and it looks and sounds delish! I like the idea of the sticky glaze. I have a similar recipe, Poached Pears in Gran Marnier
that uses a mascarpone topping, but your idea of the cardamon flavour would be even better! Thanks for the idea.
January 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm
Thanks, Elaine! I just checked out your version and they look wonderful with the warm, festive spice combination and mascarpone topping. I will have to try!