Friday, May 16, 2014

Spiced Pear and Raisin Sunflower Seed Crumble (Paleo & Vegan)

Pear, cardamom and mace

Spiced pear and raisin pie is one of my favorite desserts ever. When I ran my farmer's market baking company I would make a two crust pie in the fall made from pears, raisins, brown sugar and cardamom. People loved it, it was sort of unusual. The raisins become plump soaking up all the juices from the pear and the spices. Seriously a good combination. 

Mid May is not pear season, not close at all. But there were some nice organic pears at the grocery, so I took them home. A few days later we had 4 left and they were quite ripe, had to do something with them right away or they would become tragic rotten pears.

Right before dinner, looking for quick satisfaction, I made an abridged version of my pear pie. Spiced pear and raisin sunflower seed crumble. Its vegan, its paleo (if you don't mind some coconut sugar) and its gluten free! Sometimes I use ground spices, today I used whole cardamom and mace and smashed them myself in my mortar and pestle. Mace is orange-red and is the natural wrapping on nutmegs. It is so prettty, but also looks oddly like plastic. I have a whole jar given to me by a friend who went to Granada, where most of the nutmegs sold around the world are grown. If you dont have mace, use nutmeg instead.
Pears and raisins in pie plate

It came together in about 5 minutes. And after 45 minutes in the oven was so incredibly luscious that we ate the whole thing straight from the pie plate. There were no leftovers. 

Mixing the sunflower seed crumble
 This crumble is very flexible, use almond meal if you don't have cashew, or maple syrup or honey in place of the coconut sugar.

Spiced Pear and Raisin Sunflower Seed Crumble (Paleo & Vegan)

4 - 6 ripe Bartlet pears
1/2 cup raisins
4 cardamom pods (or 1/4 tsp ground)
pinch of ground mace
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup cashew meal
1 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tbs coconut oil, melted

Slice the pears into rough 1 inch chunks. Remove the stringy core. Leaving the skin on adds to the flavor. Toss them into a pie dish. Sprinkle the raisins over the pears.

If using whole spices, bash them up in a mortar and pestle. With the cardamom pods, you want only the seeds inside, so bash it up and pull out the green pods to use in something else or discard. Haphazardly sprinkle the spices on the fruit.

In a seperate bowl, mix up the crumble topping. Combine the sunflower seeds, casheww meal, coconut sugar and melted coconut oil. Stir it all together, it looks a little like birdfood. In a yummy way! Spread the seed crumble over the pears. It will fall into the nooks and stick on top, get it everywhere you can.

Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 45 minutes. You know it is done when juice is boiling at the sides. The crumble turned golden, the pears will be tender, the rasins all puffed. Any raisins which stick out of the top will caramelize into something like toffy. Get some spoons and dig in.

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