Pear and almond is a classy coupling, which is elevated to even greater levels of sophistication when combined with the flavours of toffee and butterscotch. Today’s recipe for Poached Pears with Butterscotch Sauce and Almond Shortcakes is the perfect make-ahead dessert for an elegant dinner party. Right on cue, it made a fantastic finale to our New Year’s Eve dinner party celebrations last night. Hello there 2016!
Pears, butterscotch, shortcake biscuits…it all sounds gloriously indulgent and a bit Fatty Arbuckle doesn’t it? However, as with all Primal Plate recipes, this dessert remains true to the healthy premise of no grains and no added sugar. The joy of eating Primal is that once you’ve reached your target weight (easily achievable it you stick to no more than 50 to 100 grams of healthy carbs each day), occasional indulgences won’t make the blindest bit of difference. No more wodgy, podgy or painful sensations from eating the wrong food, nor the post Christmas angst of feeling fat. Brilliant! The trick is to keep moving (a daily 2-3 mile walk in the fresh air should do it) and to not wander across the 150 grams of healthy carbs per day limit, which still allows you plenty of scope for sweet treats.
Real food, sustainability and kindliness to all living creatures and the environment is my inspiration for writing this Primal Plate food blog. I hope that in 2016 more people will appreciate the benefits of a low-carb, low sugar, no grain, primarily vegetarian diet so that not only can we renew our own health and vitality but also be kind and mindful enough to allow this beautiful world in which we live the same privilege and freedom.
Wishing everyone a peaceful, healthy and Happy New Year.
Vanilla Poached Pears with Butterscotch Sauce and Almond Shortcakes (Serves 4)
Ingredients - for the poached pears
300ml filtered water
rind of ½ organic lemon
1 dsp pure vanilla extract (I used Ndali)
4 firm, ripe pears (I used Williams)
Bay leaves, to decorate - optional
Ingredients - for the butterscotch sauce
160ml coconut cream
6 Medjool dates
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (I used Ndali)
1 dsp brandy - optional
Ingredients - for the almond shortcakes
100g organic butter
200g organic ground almonds
50g Sukrin Gold
50g organic flaked almonds, lightly toasted
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 dsp pure vanilla extract (I used Ndali)
Instructions - to make poached pears
First, check the dimensions of your saucepan to make sure that it is the right size for the pears to fit snugly inside.
Bring the water, Sukrin icing sugar, lemon peel and maple syrup up to the boil then reduce the heat under the pan to a very low simmer.
Peel the pears. Leave them whole with their stalks intact, immediately placing each one into the syrup - turning it to coat - before continuing with the rest.
Cook the pears with the pan lid on for 20 to 30 minutes or until they’re soft to the point of a skewer or sharp knife.
Take the pan off the heat and allow the pears to cool in the syrup. When cold, store covered in a refrigerator until needed.
Instructions - to make butterscotch sauce
Remove the stones from the dates and roughly chop. Place in a high powered blender with the remaining ingredients (in the order as listed in ‘ingredients’) and process until smooth.
Serve with poached pears and almond shortcakes
Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Instructions - to make almond shortcakes
Pre heat the oven to 130℃ (fan) / 150℃ / 300℉ / Gas mark 2
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine ground almonds, tiger nut flour, Sukrin Gold, baking soda, sea salt and flaked almonds.
Using a fork, stir in the cooled melted butter and vanilla essence to bring everything loosely together - then roll up your sleeves and with your hands squash the mixture into a ball of dough - it is a bit sticky and crumbly but don't be worried, be determined!
Tip the dough onto a large piece of non-stick baking parchment. Place a second piece of baking parchment on top then flatten the dough out a little bit with your hands.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to about 6 to 8mm (¼ to ½ inch thick).
Use a 7.5 cm (3 inch) plain cutter to cut out the biscuits. Once you are only left with scraps from the cutouts, bring the pieces together to create a ball, then roll it out again to the same thickness and continue cutting the biscuits out.
Place the biscuits onto a lined baking sheet, about one inch apart. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
Cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely.
These shortcake biscuits will keep for up to a week in an airtight container.
The poached pears will keep for up to 5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator.
I love the intense toffee flavour of the Butterscotch Sauce and, when chilled, it's the perfect consistency for piping around the pears. However, if you want a simpler presentation, it can also be formed into elegant looking quenelles (oval scoops of cream formed between two dessert spoons) and served alongside the pears. Alternatively, if you're okay with diluting the butterscotch flavour, thin the sauce down with a little milk, whipping cream or even water until a pouring consistency is achieved, then spoon over or around the pears.
A list of suppliers for Sukrin sweeteners and grain-free flours can be found on Sukrin’s Home page
Carbohydrate 20g Protein 1g - per serving of butterscotch sauce
Carbohydrate 15g Protein 0g - per pear
Carbohydrate 6g Protein 4g - per shortcake biscuit