It’s getting dark early now. It’s amazing how setting the clock back just one hour can completely change your day. Leaving work in the dusk of day when just last week the sun was shining. It changes everything about your evening. Getting tired earlier, that feeling of winter hibernation is kicking in. Food is different too. Heavier, warmer, heartier dinners. More baked goods and breads. Starchy foods. Everything takes on a slightly savory quality. I don’t like the same kinds of sweets and desserts in the fall and winter as I do in the spring and summer. Everything has a little more substance, a little more complexity. Autumnal food is not to be taken lightly.
Pear season is upon us. Such a versatile fruit. Not too sweet, not too tart, firm enough to hold up to baking and poaching. Asian pears are particularly special; almost a cross between an apple and a pear, very floral and fragrant and such a distinctive flavor. Pairing them with the crunchy, earthy pistachios is just heavenly. A little vanilla for fragrance and cardamom for a bite, baked into this cakey-custardy dessert. Eat it warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and a cup of chamomile tea.
Sometimes, when it’s cool and crisp outside and my house is filling with the scent of vanilla and spice, I find myself at peace. I want to freeze that moment. Actually, let me be honest: I want to spend everyday in cozy sweaters baking delicious desserts. I have days where I just wish my life revolved around my kitchen, playing and experimenting and eating. It has become such a passion of mine, I find myself looking forward to starting dinner on the way home from work. Planning desserts to make on the weekends for us to enjoy through the week. Vanilla and cardamom and Asian pears and pistachios. I can’t stop myself. THG
Asian Pear and Pistachio Clafoutis
3 medium Asian pears
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup pistachio meal
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Cut Asian pears in half and core. Butter 6 small ramekins and place a pear half in the center of each, cut side down. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until light and smooth. Add cream and vanilla and beat. Add flour, pistachio meal, sea salt and cardamom and beat until well combined. Pour into ramekins until almost full (do not completely submerge pear halves). Bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown. Let cool slightly. Dust with powdered sugar and chopped pistachios. Serve warm.