Winter is undoubtedly the most apple-centric season of the year, but this winter I urge you to step out of your cosy fuji, sundowner, and granny smith comfort zone and into the equally delicious world of the Nashi Pear. A twist on the classic baked apple, I use golden-skinned nashis, with chopped, toasted walnuts, oats and cinnamon crumble on top and a final drizzle of hot toffee sauce. Sounds a bit fancy, but really, it couldn’t be easier to make.
2 nashi pears
2 tbsp white wine
4 tbsp fresh orange juice
3 tbsp rice syrup (or honey)
Rind of 1 orange
½ cup water
Safflower oil for brushing
½ cup rolled oats
2 tbsp plain flour (organic if possible)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp fresh ginger (or crystallised stem ginger)
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
Preheat oven to 170C (If possible bake the apples without fan-assisted heat as this is too intense and will burst the skin of the Nashi before it is cooked)
Cut the base of the nashi pears if they do not sit flat, making sure not to remove too much of the base. Remove the tops of the pears and set aside. Remove the cores from the pears*. Brush the pears with some of the safflower oil and lightly coat with brown sugar. Set aside.
Combine wine, orange juice and rind, rice syrup (or honey) and ½ cup water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, butter, walnuts and salt and mix together with your fingertips to create a crumble.
Place pears in an ovenproof dish, stuff the crumble mixture into the core of the pears and pour the wine and orange juice mixture over them. Bake in the oven for approximately 40-50 minutes until pears are tender and golden.
To serve, place one baked nashi into the centre of a plate and spoon over a generous drizzle of the syrupy baking juices. Perfect with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
*This can be easily done by making an incision with the point of a small knife just below the stalk, cutting through the core. Insert the corer at the base of the pear and slide up to the incision, twist the corer and you should be able to remove the core keeping the pear intact.