Creating sweet treats that aren’t too heavy can be a challenge. Desserts that focus on fresh fruit are a good way to indulge without going overboard. Roasting the pears really transform them, bringing out and caramelizing their natural sugars. The cashew cream is the perfect replacement for traditional whipped cream, rich and creamy with just a touch of heat from the cardamom. Using a whole vanilla bean really infuses the cream with the most amazing flavor.
Make sure you use a fresh vanilla bean, if your bean is dry heat a little water in the microwave and then soak the bean for 30 minutes or so until the bean is plump and soft.
You could also serve the pears with your favorite ice cream or a dollop of greek yogurt. The cashew cream is delicious on it’s own but would also be great with some fresh blackberries or raspberries.
- cardamom cashew cream:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 vanilla bean
- pinch of salt
- Roasted pears:
- 4 medium ripe but firm pears
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ vanilla bean, reserved from the cashew cream
- 4-6 whole cardamom pods
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts to serve
- Cover the cashews with cold water and let them sit for at least one hour or up to overnight.
- Drain and rinse the cashews. If your vanilla bean is not fresh you can soak it in boiling water for 15 minutes to make it more pliable and easier to process. Drain the vanilla bean if soaking, cut it in half and add to the blender along with the cashews, maple syrup, almond milk, cardamom and salt in a blender and process until creamy and smooth.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom of a baking dish. Mix the maple syrup, lemon juice, and cardamom in a large bowl. Scrape the remaining half of the vanilla bean and add the seeds and bean to the bowl. Cut the pears in half, remove the peel and core and gently toss them in the maple syrup mixture.
- Arrange the pears cut-side down in the baking dish. Pour any remaining maple syrup mixture over the top and pour the water into the bottom of the pan. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and sprinkle on the top of the pears.
- Roast the pears for 20 minutes, then gently turn them over and spoon some of the cooking liquid on top. Continue roasting, basting the pears occasionally until the pears are tender and golden, about 20 to 30 minutes. To serve spread a few tablespoons of the cashew cream on a plate, place the roasted pears on top and sprinkle with some chopped hazelnuts if desired.