“What exactly is poudre-douce,” you ask? Well, it is a medieval spice blend that was commonly referred to as sweet powder. It is made up of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. This warm blend adds more complexity to a dish than straight up cinnamon alone can do.
It is also a favourite of mine to mix with apples or pears warmed in the microwave and topped with yogurt, as well as in these baked pears.
Also, don’t be afraid of the little bit of black pepper you will find in this recipe. It adds a savoury hit of heat to the blend and balances it out. It also cuts through all the sweetness of the fruit and creaminess of the coconut milk ice cream.
Poudre-Douce Spiced Baked Pears
For the poudre-douce spice blend
(makes extra to store)
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper corns
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
Pear Filling (per each 1 firm Anjou or Bosc pear)
2 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 c. chopped walnuts, or pecans
1/2 tsp. poudre-douce spice blend (recipe above)
2 Tbsp maple syrup, divided
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut the pear(s) in half lengthwise and carefully core with a melon baller or spoon. Turn the pear halves over and cut a small slice off the bottom edge to allow it to lay flat when turned back over. Work quickly so that the pears don’t brown.
- Mix the dates, walnuts, spice blend, and 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup together in a bowl then carefully spoon it into each half pear cavity until slightly overfilled.
- Place pear halves on a parchment lined baking tray in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes. Depending on the level of ripeness of the pear they may require slightly more or slightly less time.
- To serve, drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of maple syrup and top with Cinnamon-Coconut Milk Ice Cream (recipe below). Note: in the winter these are nice with whipped cream as well.
Cinnamon Coconut Milk Ice Cream
1 can full fat organic coconut milk
8 fresh medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup boiling water
1 vanilla bean, seeds only, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
To make the “ice cream”:
- Soak the dates in the 1/2 cup boiling water until soft, then drain and add to a powerful blender or food processor.
- Add the coconut milk and cinnamon to the blender or food processor.
- Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds from the center of each half using the flat side of your knife. Add the seeds to the blender or food processor.
- Process all ingredients until smooth then add to an ice cream machine, following manufacturers directions.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can pour the ice cream starter into an air-tight container and place it in the freezer. You will need to stir it every hour for 6-8 hours until it is the desired consistency. It will not be as smooth as using the ice cream machine, but all the flavour will still be there.
Now I bet you are asking yourself what’s so soulful about this recipe. How would you feel about eating it if I told you it’s healthy? Because it is? The dates offer a low gycemic index sweetness to both the pears and the ice cream, and the maple syrup need not be used in heaps because of it’s unique flavour profile. The coconut milk delivers medium chain fatty acids, and the walnuts are a hit of protein. Eating the whole pear pours some much needed fibre into your beautiful body as well.
They say “food is fuel, not therapy” But I say if you plan it right, it can be both! @the_joy_trail
All added together, this dessert is pure and joyful fuel and therapy!
Bonus: If you love coconut and are craving eating something healthy for breakfast that tastes like dessert, try this Coconut Chia Pudding. You won’t be disappointed!