“Darya, my biggest problem is…I have a sweet tooth. Are there any recipes or desserts you suggest?”
One of the hardest things about transitioning to a healthy diet is cutting down on sugar. I definitely remember this from my own experience.
Luckily this difficulty is temporary.
The longer you go without sugar, the less you want it. In fact it has taken me awhile to reply to this question because I have not been motivated to make dessert in such a long time.
I eat sweets on occasion, but almost always these situations are circumstantial: a friend’s birthday, a favorite restaurant or other special occasion. And I am only excited about the experience if the dessert in question is profoundly exquisite. (In San Francisco, this is way more common than it is in most places.)
What this all means is I rarely find reason to seek out and/or make dessert.
But after creating this recipe, I may reconsider. This dessert is incredibly delicious, and not unhealthy at all. I thinly sliced some bosc pears and briefly sautéed them in butter with cinnamon. I reduced some balsamic vinegar for a semi-sweet topping, but otherwise did not add any sugar. I garnished the pears with toasted walnuts and shredded basil.
This recipe also works with other firm fruits such as apples, peaches and strawberries, all of which are available this time of year at the farmers market.
Sauteed Bosc Pears With Toasted Walnuts, Balsamic Reduction and Basil
- One bosc pear, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 tsp butter
- Cinnamon to taste
- 1/4 c. walnuts
- 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
- 5 basil leaves, chiffonade into strips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, core and cut bosc pear into 1/4 inch slices.
Place balsamic vinegar in small sauce pan and gently heat until simmering. Allow to reduce, swirling occasionally until reduced to 25-30% volume, about 10 minutes. Reduction should be dark and thickened. Test by seeing if it coats the back of a spoon (and tastes good). Do not over reduce.
While vinegar is reducing, place walnuts on a cookie sheet and put in oven. Toast walnuts, turning once or twice for 6-7 minutes. Do yourself a favor and set a timer. It is very easy to burn toasting nuts. I set the time for 3 minutes, toss the nuts, then reset for another 3 minutes. Remove nuts from oven, allow to cool, then coarsely chop.
Heat butter in a pan on medium heat until it begins to foam. Add pear slices and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook gently until slightly tender, about 3 minutes on each side. Turn with a thin spatula.
Place pears on a plate and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Sprinkle on chopped walnuts and basil. I didn’t try it, but I bet this would be awesome with gorgonzola and port (or other dessert wine).
Try it and let me know what you think!
Do you ever cook fruits for dessert?
Originally published October 12, 2009.