Despite the sunshine and warmth of today trying to convince us otherwise, the late fall/winter holidays are rapidly approaching. I feel it acutely with every Sunday market that passes. Where there once were figs and berries, apples and pears spread out. Where tomatoes and zucchinis once lounged, now sit the butternut, acorn, and delicata squashes. Rather than fight this inevitability, the natural coming and going of seasons, I am embracing the flavors of now and preparing for festivities on the horizon.
This brings me to pears. For the most part we sell Asian pear varieties. Many of these have been cultivated for thousands of years, have fun yet hard-to-pronounce names, and not so great for cooking. The pears with which we are familiar in the States in fact find their roots in the soils of Asia and Europe, despite our pride in what has become an American fall staple. At market, we sell a limited quantity of an heirloom Belgian variety of pear - la Doyenne de Juillet - a traditionally July-bearing tree from the late 18th century that seems to come late in this area. It is a very small, sweet fruit, that is delicate and bruises easily. As such, after a bumpy bike ride home, this petite poire was not looking so happy.
What says the holidays better than the warm scent of cinnamon, and the rich, caramel taste of pear? Well, maybe pumpkin pie or mulled cider, but this little pielette makes a pretty strong impression. Involving very little work, no hot ovens or burnt fingers, and perhaps just a tad bit of planning, this pie is super easy and actually quite filling and fulfilling!
Raw-liday Pear Pie
3/4 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight and skinned
3/4 cup ripe pear, cubed
1/2 medium banana
Cinnamon to taste
Ginger (powdered or grated fresh, to taste, optional)
Variation: add a tablespoon of raw cocoa powder to the almond-date mixture for an extra dose of antioxidants!
1. In a food processor, combine almonds and dates until the mix starts to clump. Press into a small tart pan.
2. Puree pear, banana, and any cinnamon or ginger until smooth. Fill the tart pan. Freeze or serve as is. Maybe add a dollop of raw cashew cream...