Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pear gingerbread pudding

The apple pie pudding was so tasty that when I saw pears sitting in my fruit bowl, I had to try them next.  I wanted to do something a little different. I thought that just doing the apple recipe with pear wouldn't teach me much. (Which was wrong, as I'll point out later.) I thought ginger pear sounded good... And then pear gingerbread jumped into my head and held one of the smaller ganglia hostage.  I NEED MY GANGLIA.  I don't have any spares!  I had no choice! (*)

I started similar to the apple recipe, but I wanted to get a real gingerbread flavor, which was accomplished with the additions of butter, ginger, clove & a bit of molasses.(**)

This recipe is a bit of a rough draft, but since several people asked for it... Here's my lab notes for the experiment.

* 1/2 can coconut milk
* 2 tbsp butter (grassfed)
* 1 pear (I used Anjou, probably a mistake), chopped and peeled
* 1/2 tsp ginger/cinnamon/clove mix (I have a bottle of these spices mixed 4:4:1 ratio)
* 3/4 tbsp molasses (I was aiming for 1/2, but the molasses pour is challenging to control)
~1/8 tsp salt (look, look, I measured! I'm so proud!)

1) Peel and chop pear.  [I'm not sure how you're supposed to peel a pear, so I did it the same way I do with an apple - I take a steak knife and peel round & round.  No doubt you can do so by carving an X and blanching, same as you do for peaches, tomatoes, etc, but that seems like a lot of work for a single pear.]

2) Blend pear in coconut milk.  [The only downside to the apple pie pudding recipe was that it came out just slightly apple-saucey in texture.  I thought that might be due to the stick blender not being as good as the real one, so I tried blending it in advance.]

3) Pour pear/coconut mixture into small saucepan, and add all other ingredients.  Stir.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Simmer at least 15 minutes, 30 is probably better. [I had the idea that being smaller pieces would cook faster.  Logical, right?  Wrong.  The texture of the pudding didn't set up as well as the others I've made.  I think it needs a longer cooking time to cook off more water.]

4) Pour into pudding cups and refrigerate for as long as you can hold out. (Again, I made it maybe an hour before tasting the first batch.)

4b) I wanted to try a few spice variations, so I split this into 4 pudding cups, one As-Is, one with a sprinkle of allspice, one with a sprinkle of allspice & black pepper, and one with just pepper.  I stirred a bunch to make sure the spicing was evenly distributed before sticking them in the fridge.  I thought both the allspice & the allspice + pepper variations were equal improvements, just different. Pepper alone only warmed it.  I'll be playing with the spice variants next time I try this because I think the cooked spice is different from just having it mixed in.  I also suspect fresh ground pepper might be better and have more of the intrinsic sweet notes.


Flavor - 10/10 - I AM A GENIUS.  In-freakin-credible. I think maybe a little fresh ginger juice might turn it up to 11, but damn this is good now.

Texture - 6/10 - and it's only that high because spouse insisted it was fine.  It was not fine.  It was grainy.  Okay, it was very find grained, but still, grainy.  I think this can be fixed with a combination of a) longer cooking time, and b) A SMOOTHER BREED OF PEAR, DUH!  I think Bartlett would be ideal.  I'll be repeating this another time to figure it out because as I said before OMG FLAVOR OF AMAZEBALLS.  Also possibly straining it.  (I'm totally open to any feedback y'all might have on this.)
Normal person taste bud response - Very Good. Spouse said he'd serve it to guests as long as it was dressed up visually with some fresh berries or whipped cream.  This is his second highest for of praise for food flavor.  (His first highest is "Chris-worthy."  Chris is a friend of ours who is a foodie of the highest degree.)  

(*) That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  

(**) it's just a little bit of molasses! If this serves two, then each person gets 3/8 tbsp molasses, or a whole 5g of sugar.  My Paleo principles are just fine with that tiny compromise.  Yours might not be.  If yours aren't and you try without, or with stevia, please tell me how it works for you.  Also, again, the butter isn't pure paleo.  I'm okay with a little bit of grassfed butter in my diet.  It's a fabulous source of vitamin K2.  If you can't have it though, substitute another saturated fat. (Saturated will help it set up in the fridge.)

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