Here’s a fool-proof way to make a lovely, light dessert.  It’s totally simple, and will please the pickiest eater.

– 4 firm but ripe pears*
– 3–4 cups filtered water
– 2–3″ piece of peeled fresh ginger
– whole cinnamon stick
– whole vanilla bean pod
– 3–4 TB. honey (optional)

1. Peel** the pears, leaving the stems intact.
2. Set them on their base in a pan, add water to cover and the spices.  If you’re using honey, dilute it in some hot water and then add it.
3. Bring to a slow simmer or very low boil, and cook gently for 20-25 minutes.
4. Let cool in the liquid, and serve room temperature or chilled.  You can reduce the liquid to a syrup and pour it over the pears, or use it in other recipes – it is totally delicious!

Another idea is to “plump” dried cranberries in the warm liquid and serve with the pears.  A few whole walnuts are another nice garnish.  Other possibilities for garnishes include a dusting of nutmeg, or a dollop of very lightly sweetened creamy yoghurt.

*Firmer pears, like the Bosc and Seckel varieties are ideal.  Bartlett’s will work, but tend to get mushy.  They still taste wonderful, but aren’t as pretty on the plate!

**You do want to peel the pears for this recipe, but remember that pear skin provides fiber and a wealth of phenolic phytonutrients that are anti-oxidant and anti-diabetic, among other benefits.  There are a wealth of wonderful fall pears, and they make a great healthy snack.

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