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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

Poached Pears are a longstanding, favorite cold-weather dessert. Dried hibiscus flowers are most often steeped in boiling water to make a tangy tea. We discovered the tangy quality of hibiscus lends itself to forming the base of a delightful sauce in which to poach pears. The recipe is easy to prepare and only requires a few ingredients. Enjoy!


2 cups (480 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) dried hibiscus flowers*

6 large pears (Anjou, Comice or Bosc)

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water
2/3 cup (160 ml) dehydrated maple sugar
15 pitted dates

2 three-inch cinnamon sticks
Fresh mint leaves, optional

  1. Combine the water and hibiscus flowers in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Turn heat off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the pears, leaving the stems intact. Set aside.

  3. Remove the cooked hibiscus flowers from the saucepan with a slotted spoon, and reserve for a future use.** Pour the hibiscus juice into the blender. Add the water, dehydrated maple sugar, and dates, and blend until the dates are pureed. Pour this sauce into a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 32 cm) ovenproof baking dish.

  4. Put the pears into the sauce, standing upright. Bury the cinnamon sticks in the sauce and cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny side down. Bake at 325 degrees F. (Gas Mark 3) for 1 1/2 hours.

  5. To serve, transfer the pears to individual dessert bowls, and spoon some of the sauce into each bowl. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serves 6.

*Dried hibiscus flowers can be purchased at a store that specializes in bulk herbs or at many health food markets where hibiscus flowers are packaged as herb tea.

**The hibiscus flowers can be reused to make another batch of poached pears. Simply put the cooked hibiscus flowers into a plastic bag and store it in the freezer until ready to use. Remove them from the freezer and follow step number 1 in the above recipe.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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