Sunday, 15 September 2013

Pearfectly You!

Fritella Dolce, Speziata, con le Pera, Mertilli Rossi & Mandorle
Spiced Pear, Cranberry & Almond Pancake

Pears. Everywhere I looked at the market hall yesterday, pears! Isn't nature grand? The way it yields up its crops and says, "Hey farmer! Pluck me- or chuck me!" It seems like every pear tree in Germany decided to do just that last week! So there they were- ripe and ready and really low-priced! So of course I had to take a bagful with me...

... although I had no idea of what I was going to do with them! The only thing I knew was that coriander seed would be playing a role in the recipe, no matter what it ended up being- it is my absolute favorite spice to enjoy with pear! But of course I didn't just stick to once spice... you all know me well enough by now!

I started off by peeling and halving the pears, scooping out the pips and carefully slicing away the stalk and stem. Next, I sliced into them carefully, leaving the thick end intact and sprinkled the undersides with a little spice- a mix of coriander, a little cinnamon and cardamom- about a half teaspoon of each, which I ground up freshly with my mortar and pestle. 

I carefully placed the sliced pears onto a steam-rack and let them steam for 5-6 minutes until they were almost soft. In the meantime I got busy with the pancake mix, which was a classic egg, flour and baking powder mix- nothing too unusual, apart from the fact that I whisked the whites separately and then mixed them into the other ingredients, to give a little extra fluffiness. So in this case it was 2 eggs, 4-5 spoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of baking powder. I added a pinch of salt, the remaining spices and I sweetened mine with Stevia, although you can obviously use sugar if you prefer.

I turned on the oven, ready to go and got my non-stick frying pan ready on the stove top- also ready for action! But more than anything, very, very hungry! Again, I opted to do without butter, but you may wish to use it- and this would be the time! Into the hot pan went the fluffy pancake batter, then after just 1 minute, into the oven it went for a minutes-worth of heat from above. I did this because I wanted the pancake to begin setting and becoming firm, so that the pears would not sink into it and become invisible. 

I then fetched the pan back out and laid the pear out on top, added just a light drizzle of jam- in this case it was a cranberry preserve, and a generous sprinkle of chopped almonds... and then back into the oven it went for 10 minutes at 250°F.
After that time, I fetched it out again briefly, added a light drizzle of honey and gave it a final 1-2 minutes under the broiler for a wonderful golden finish... delicious!

So this was hardly rocket science and even in my practically fat and sugar-free version, the combination of ingredients, spices and flavors made this very special indeed! And as I always say... if you only "do breakfast" at the weekends, like I do and you like to keep them healthy- you can still have fun and you can still indulge! So I recommend that you do! And I hope you will like it!

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