A few months back now, I received a very special package from a good friend in Oklahoma. Fresh Oklahoma pecans. My favorite nut. A few weeks later….another package. And this one had a lovely jug of Ohio made, maple syrup, from that same good friend. Most people know her by just Annie.
I thanked her for such a thoughtful gift to me, and my stomach! Particularly when she has been up to her eyeballs in new projects, not the least of which is a new cookbook now available for pre-order. I had to make these precious gifts into the most special dessert ever. I think I did it too.
Maple Candied Oat Pecan Crumble with Maple Cinnamon Baked Pears with fresh tangy Currants
I’ve never seen fresh currants in the grocery before that I know of. When I saw them at Whole Foods, I knew they’d be a perfect complement to the maple flavors in this dish. I hesitated to add them to the recipe because they would be hard to find. Cranberry might be a substitute, unsweetened. Or cherries? Something with a little tang. The currants were definitely a hit and I’ve used them as salad toppings as well. A few go a long way as well.
If you’ve never had them either, they are a cross between a blueberry and a grape, red grape maybe. Hard to describe but slightly sour with just a touch of berry-sweetness. That’s where the compliment comes in for the pears.
Start by heating a small pan and heating up the pecan-oats, maple syrup, butter mixture. You’ll need to watch it closely so it doesn’t burn and I add water to the recipe to prevent this as well. The water will cook off slowly which gives the maple time to get thicker as it cooks and heats the pecans / oats at the same time. In about 10 minutes, you’ll have one of the tastiest toppings you’ll ever eat. On top of ice cream, fruit or plain even with a touch of warmed nut milk. The pecans soften and warm, the oats get a crunch from the candied maple syrup. It’s all good folks.
Maple Oat Pecan Crumble
When you’ve got the topping ready, get to your baked pears. Core out the center seeds. I did mine with a teaspoon measure or a melon baller would work, or just a spoon. Next, melt the butter / maple syrup glaze and baste each pear generously. You’ll want to put a non-stick surface underneath them in the oven. I just used a sheet of foil so the maple didn’t burn onto my pan. Sprinkle each pear with a pinch of cinnamon and bake at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes. They don’t need to brown necessarily, just warm up a bit. If you’ve used well-ripened pears, there’s no need to get them softened from the heat. They just taste better warmed.
The flavor combination of sour currants, sweet-cinnamon pears and the syrupy warm maple will just make you smile. I originally planned on topping these with Almond Milk Vanilla Ice Cream. And I’m sure that it would be eatable that way. But it didn’t need it. I got such pleasure from just the flavors from the fruits and nuts that I literally forgot the ice cream. Either way, you’ll love it.
- 2 ripe pears, halved and cored using a tsp. measure or melon baller
- 1 Tbs. Vegan butter, melted
- 2 Tbs. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
- 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbs. Vegan butter
- fresh currants, raisins or cranberries
- pinch of coarse sea salt (optional but recommended)
- In a medium pan, combine the topping ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning until the water has cooked down and the syrup thickens and sticks to the pecans. The oats should be ready as well after about 10 minutes of simmering. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Cut each pear in half, core out the seeded center. *See Notes
- Lay each half on a foil lined pan, cut side up. Baste the cut side of each pear with melted butter, maple mix. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
- Bake uncovered for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Plate pears and top with Pecan Oat Crumble.
- Top with fresh currants and a pinch of sea salt. Serve warm.
- There are many varieties of pears and the most important choice is a well ripened one. If you have trouble getting the halved pears to lay straight on the pan for baking, you might make a thin slice off of the skin side to create a more flat surface for the base of each pear half.
- These are best served right out of the oven but I also tried them re-heated and they were still fine. The pears will be less firm if reheated after the initial bake is all. I had extra crumble and it reheats well for ice cream or fruit topping. 1 pear per serving suggested.
Thanks again Annie.
If you all try this one out, you’ve got to let me know how they were. I know this one will be a new family favorite.
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