I have had pears in my organic fruit and veg box for the last 3 weeks running. Lots of them. There are only so many we can eat. So, I’ve been trying to be creative. Last night we had pork loin steaks pan fried with a sprinkling of fennel seeds, baked sweet potato and broccoli, and I threw a thickly sliced pear into the pan with the pork for the last few minutes. Yum. Pork and pears is delicious. If you don’t believe me, you must try Jamie Oliver’s Pork, Pear and Parsnip recipe Here. Anyway, that used up one pear, so I was still left with a fruitbowl-full. So I decided to make a crumble.
My crumble is gluten and sugar free, but of course. I did ponder putting a bit of sugar into the crumble mixture. I thought honey or maple syrup would make it too soggy and distinctly non crumbly. I often wonder why some “sugar free” recipes might contain 1/2 a bottle of maple syrup or a cup of honey. What’s the point? Cutting sugar out of your diet is not about swapping it for another sweetener. It’s about re-training your tastebuds and improving your health with a lower GI diet. Yes, processed white sugar is the worst form of sugar, but anything very sweet, such as honey or a ton of dried dates made into a ‘raw brownie’ will also effect your blood sugar, adrenal system and waistline. They are less bad for you, rather than good for you, Is one way to think of it. Anyway *clims back off soapbox* I try to make my cooking low in any form of sugar where I can. And so by the same token, I have no issue with using a spoonful of really good, organic muscavado or Demerara sugar here and there. I hope that makes sense, it does to me anyway 🤔
So, without further ado, here is the recipe, handmade by me and t’kids this afternoon. Feel free to add any other fruit you like: a handful of juicy blackberries or an apple or two would be lovely.
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
6 medium sized pears, fairly ripe or thereabouts
1 100g pot Hipp organic pear & apple purée (optional)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla essence/paste/seeds
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
75g ground almonds
2 tbsps butter or coconut oil
25g pumpkin seeds
optional: 25g chopped walnuts or pecans (My kids aren’t big fans, so I often just add these to my own bowl later)
good pinch salt
OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp muscavado, demerera or coconut sugar
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Chop your pears into various sizes. You want some to have a bit of texture (about 1 inch slices) and some to reduce down to form a sauce (about 1cm). Cook on a low heat with a splash of water, the honey, vanilla and half of the cinnamon for about 5 minutes until soft… ish. How much cooking they will need depends on how ripe they are, so use your judgement. If you’re using it, stir through your purée, it makes a nice sauce.
2. Meanwhile, spread oats out onto a baking try. They are crispier and have more flavour toasted and are easier to digest. Cook in oven for about 6-7 mins, keep an eye on them, you just want them just starting to turn golden and toasty.
3. Allow oats to cool slightly, mix with almonds and rub butter or oil in to form a breadcrumb type texture. Stir through sugar (if using), salt, seeds/nuts and rest of cinnamon.
4. Top fruit with crumble mixture and bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream, custard, coconut yoghurt… If it’s not quite sweet enough, drizzle with a little honey, maple syrup or even (ssshhh!) a sprinkling of sugar. I always add a handful of extra walnuts to mine, just because I love walnuts.