Helen Goh is the co author of “Sweet” the latest Ottolenghi book. This recipe for baked nashi pears is delightful and except for the sugar pretty healthy. The star anise is the star here don’t think about baking the nashi pears without the spice.
The trick is to intensify the fruit’s delicate sweetness by baking it longer than you think you need – a skewer should go through the flesh without any resistance. Bake extra because leftover nacho makes for an uncommonly good breakfast with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of granola.
6 large nashi pears
6 medjool dates ( 120g) pitted
1 ripe banana
70g dried mango ( or dried apricots, peaches, papaya) 30g toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp ground star anise
3 whole star anise
250ml apple juice
yogurt or cream, to serve
1 preheat the oven to 190C ( 170C fan forced)
2. Remove the cores from the nashi pears with an apple corer, leaving a 2-3 cavity for the fruit stuffing. Choose a baking dish that will fit the pears fairly snugly and line it with baking paper.
3. Chop the dates, banana and dried mango ( or papaya, peach or apricot) into roughly 1 cm pieces. Place in a bowl and combine with the walnuts, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and ground star anise. Spoon the mixture into the cavities of the nashis, pushing it in with the end of a wooden spoon so that it fills the entire cavity. Put the stuffed pears in the baking dish, scatter the whole star anise around the base of the dish and pour the apple juice over and around the nachos.
4. Sprinkle the nashis with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, then place in the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, basting every 15 minutes or so. Add more apple juice if necessary – the nashis should not dry out and the juice should begin to turn dark and syrupy. Cover the pan loosely with foil if the fruit filling looks as if it is starting to burn.
5. The nashis are done when they turn golden brown and a skewer inserted into the fruit goes through without resistance. Serve warm, with the apple syrup spooned over and a dollop of yoghurt or cream on the side.
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