Jan and John Belleme are experts in culinary and traditional Japanese foods. They have authored many wonderful books together including The Miso Book and Japanese Foods That Heal

Photo by Michael Belleme

Cider-Poached Pears  
by Jan & John Belleme
Serves 6
This simple dessert provides a warm, sweet ending to fall or winter meals.

3 ripe but firm pears, halved and cored
apple juice
1 cinnamon stick and several whole cloves
1 cup raisins
pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon kuzu
chopped, toasted walnuts, for garnish (optional)
Arrange pears in a single layer on the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan. Pour in a mixture of 3 parts apple juice and 1 part water to almost cover the pears. Add the spices, raisins, and salt and simmer, covered, until pears are tender. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Remove the cinnamon and cloves from the liquid, return it to the pan, and cook down to 1 cup. Add mirin. Thoroughly dissolve kuzu in 1 tablespoon cold water and add to cider while stirring briskly. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until kuzu thickens and becomes translucent. Simmer 1 minute more. Immediately serve pears in small bowls with sauce ladled over the top and, if served, a sprinkle of toasted, chopped walnuts.

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