Roasted Autumn Pears, Honey, Cardamon & Halvah


Serves 6

  • 6 pears (firm but not hard), quartered and seeds removed but stems left on

  • 2 Tbls. honey mixed

  • 1/2 tsp. cardamon mixed with 1 Tbls. sugar

  • 1/4 cup shredded halvah (sesame seed “candy” found in Mediterranean markets)

  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted chopped walnuts, sliced or slivered almonds or pistachios

  • 1 Tbls. toasted sesame seeds (black seeds if possible)

  • 1 cup crème fraîche

  • 1 Tbls. powdered sugar

Place the fruit on a baking dish that is large enough to give them a little room. They should not be squished together. Drizzle with honey and let sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Sprinkle with cardamon-sugar mixture and roast the fruit for 10 to 15 minutes or until coked through when pierced with a knife. They should be slightly colored and not mushy.

Whip the crème fraîche and powdered sugar just until soft peeks form.

Divide the cooked pears among individual dishes and spoon remaining juices left in the baking dish over pears.

Place a dollop of crème fraîche on each serving.

Garnish with the shredded halvah, nuts and sesame seeds.

Homemade Crème Fraîche:

Combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover with a towel or cheese cloth and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days.

Dukkah, a crunchy condiment from Egypt.

Dukkah is delicious on so many things. Here I have it on roasted parsnips. There are more serving ideas below. Like any regional food, there are many versions. This just happens to be my favorite but don't be afraid to experiment! I also love smoked paprika or switching out the hazelnuts to pistachios.

  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts (skinned) or almonds
  • 1/4 cup black or white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds                                                                                  
  • 2 Tbls. cumin seeds                                                                                          
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds                                                                                          
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric                                                                                                  
  • A hefty pinch of each dried oregano and red pepper flakes                        
  • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper (Maldon salt is nice here)

Put all of the seeds into a small sauté pan on medium heat and shake the pan moving the seeds until they smell fragrant and are warm. Cool and pour them into a spice mill or food processor with the remaining ingredients and pulse until the nuts are medium-coarsely chopped. You don't want a paste. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Stir. Store in a sealed container. Go to town!    

Serve on:

  • Scrambled eggs  
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Ricotta or fresh goat cheese drizzled with with olive oil, sprinkled with Dukkah
  • Sprinkle on hummus
  • Rub on fish or chicken before sautéing
  • Serve with pita and a bowl of olive oil to dip first helping the Dukkah to cling to the pita                                                                                                                       

*Adapted from D. Madison's Vegetable Literacy