There's something about pears and bananas that make them so perfect in baking. Both have distinct, yet somewhat soft flavors that really sweeten up when they're heated. They both have soft textures to begin with, and when they're cooked they really just melt away. And both taste so right with brown sugar, vanilla and cream. Mmm, just thinking about the flavors makes my mouth water.
The funny thing is, I didn't discover pears until a few years ago. For some reason, we never ate pears growing up. Apples, yes. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But pears? We never even thought about eating pears. Perhaps, because pears are so delicate, Mom didn't want to bother with them, knowing us kids would turn them down for any little bruise they got.
Casey introduced me to pears. I'd get apples to snack on, and Casey started asking for pears. I gave them a try and realized they are pretty tasty. When a few of our pears were past their peak and I was in the mood for baking, I made pear cobbler. I was hooked. Pears were meant for baking.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Oven temp: 350 degrees
Baking dish: 9-inch pie pan or 2-quart casserole dish
6 cups pears, thinly sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cardamom
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2-4 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca (optional)
1. Core pears and thinly slice. Add to your mixing bowl.
I don't mind peels in my pies and cobblers so I don't bother with peeling (plus, there are lots of nutrients in the peels!). Peel the pears if you prefer a smoother, more consistent texture.
2. Add the remaining "fruit mix" ingredients to the mixing bowl. Toss to coat pears evenly. Set fruit mix aside.
The tapioca soaks up some of the juices and is used to give the cobbler less watery consistency. I like the gooey texture the tapioca gives, but if you prefer a juicier cobbler the tapioca may be omitted. If you don't have tapioca on hand, 2 tablespoons of cornflour or flour will also work.
3. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar and spices.
4. Melt butter in sauce pan.
5. Sprinkle butter over dry ingredients; toss to coat evenly.
6. Press 2/3 of topping mixture into baking dish, covering bottom of pan and pushing up the sides. Add fruit mixture to pan. Cover with remaining topping ingredients.
7. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly.
8. Let cool before serving. For an extra treat, serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.