Friday, December 6, 2013

Pear + Apple + Berry Bake

The holiday season is full of delicious spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, ginger, just to name a few. I'm feeling the holiday spirit and nothing makes home more cozy than holiday decorations and the warm smells of these spices! I wanted to create a healthy baked fruit recipe that can be enjoyed as dessert, or just as easily as breakfast. Aside from the natural pairing of apple with cinnamon and nutmeg, I added pears and berries for a little extra tartness and zest.

As for the topping, I wanted to avoid butter-ladened streusel, so I opted for pre-made pie crust, cut into strips instead.  You can think of it as an upside-down pie. I've never had the patience to roll out pie crust on my own, but if you have the inclination, I'm sure it would work just as well!

This is a delicious recipe and so very easy to put together - just slice up the fruit, mix with spices and sugar, and top with your crust. You don't need a lot of sugar (baking will bring out the natural sweetness of the fruit), which is great. This will smell heavenly as the fruit starts to bake and blend with the cinnamon and nutmeg.

You can vary the types of pears and apples you use, depending on your preferences. Some fruits will bake better than others, due to varying water content - for example, don't try to bake Macintosh apples or Bartlett pears. They'll literally melt. Just so you have a few more bake-friendly apple and pear options:

Apples: Granny smith, Crispin, Pink Lady, Fuji, Cortland
Pears: Bosc, Anjou

I love this recipe because it's versatile, easy to put together, and full of great fruits that pack a hefty dose of fiber, vitamin C, and natural sugars to fuel your body healthily - things we all need, especially during the holidays! 

Pear + Apple + Berry Bake

3 pears (I used medium-sized Bosc pears)
1 large apple (I used Honeycrisp)
1.5 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 cup brown sugar
Pie crust, cut into strips

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice apples into 1/4 inch wedges and pears into bite-sized chunks (very precise, I know)

2. Add mixed berries

3. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to combine thoroughly

4. Lightly grease the bottom of an 8 x 12 inch pan

5. Add fruit to pan, cover with strips of crust

6. Brush top with milk and sprinkle lightly with sugar

7. Bake for 50 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing apple with a fork; it should give easily.

The warm tartness of the apples and berries are a perfect complement to the luscious, sweeter pear. Enjoy with a small scoop of ice cream for dessert, or with some yogurt for a quick and healthy breakfast! 

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite fruit recipes? 

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