Sweet

Arabian Baked Pears

The other day I came across a street vendor selling these cute mini sized pears and I had to have my hands on them. And I thought of doing something that maintained their shape and size.

Years back at a very fancy New York restaurant, I had a delicious stuffed pear with blue cheese and cranberries and a whole bunch of other aromatics, which had me salivating for more. But this time, I wanted something a bit more extravagant and different – something that hit closer to home – the baklava!

Now, over the years in my travels I have had several adaptations of the baklava. Each region within the Middle East has it’s interpretation and statement of the best. Personally, I say the Syrian baklava is the best kinds – but then again, who am I to make such a bold statement?

As a home cook, I don’t believe in any rules, I go by what I feel goes right and most importantly, what I have on hand.

The pears are halved and cored, stuffed with a baklava type filling of almonds, pistachios, cardamom, rose water and saffron. And then baked in a syrup of fresh pomegranate juice, red wine vinegar and real vanilla, cinnamon and star anise, and a pinch of nutmeg.

I enjoy these on their own, but you can also serve with vanilla ice cream!

This dessert look super-duper fancy, but really, is a piece of cake to make!

The Recipe
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 mini pears
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2-3 saffron strands
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 vanilla pod
  • pinch of nutmeg

Instructions

  • Place the filling ingredients together in a mixer and pulse until you achieve a coarse texture.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Peel the pears, then halve and core the insides.
  • In a bowl stir all the syrup ingredients together.
  • In a shallow glass or ceramic dish place the pears facing up.
  • Pour the syrup into the baking dish. Do add all the whole spices as well.
  • Add the filling into the cores of the pear, and drizzle some of the syrup on top of the pears and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and serve with vanilla ice cream.