When I was a little girl, my maternal grandparents, the ones who owned a wholesale toy business (lucky me!), lived in a small brick rowhouse in Brooklyn. I loved two things about that house: the garage where my grandfather would park his car, leaving the trunk unlocked so we could paw through the toy samples on our Sunday visits; and the pear tree in the tiny back yard. I'm still partial to the pear sauce my grandmother used to make, with a just hint of cinnamon. Had she owned a slow cooker, I think Grandma might have liked this chai-spiced pear sauce, too. The warm spices (cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves) transform pears, which are often a bit bland unless they are perfectly ripe, into a sophisticated version of the ultimate comfort food. On its own or topped with vanilla ice cream, this pear sauce makes a classy dessert or afterschool snack.
Slow cooker chai-spiced pear sauce
Recipe adapted from this recipe for pear applesauce on Oh My Veggies. Makes 2 cups of pear sauce.
6 large meaty pears (I like Bartletts)
2 two-inch pieces of lemon zest
1 packet Stevia-in-the-Raw or 2 tsp brown sugar
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 heaping tsp each: powdered ginger, ground cardamom and ground cloves
Peel and core the pears, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Spray the inside of a 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray, and add the pears along with the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
Cook on LOW for 5-1/2 hours.
Uncover the slow cooker and use a wooden spoon to smash the pears to the desired consistency. If you prefer a very smooth sauce, remove the cinnamon stick and lemon zest, and purée the sauce with an immersion blender.
Cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
Serve hot, or pack into containers, cool completely, and refrigerate.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Chai snickerdoodles, from The Novice Chef
Coconut chai rice pudding, from The Shiksa in the Kitchen
Chai spice glazed doughnut muffins, from My Baking Addiction
Chai shortbread cookies with sea salt, from Foodiecrush
Chai spiced buttermilk pancakes, from Joy the Baker
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