Baked Pear with Chocolate Raspberry Cream

Baked pear is a simple, sweet, but sophisticated dessert. A baked pear has notes of vanilla and strawberry. The baking also transforms the pear into a silky-smooth base for the chocolate raspberry cream—which is also creamy and smooth. A touch of raspberry compote adds a bright finish to this elegant dessert.  This recipe can skip the chocolate cream if desired.

Baked pears

4 semi-ripe large Bartlett pears (or 1 pear per person)

½ cup raw soaked cashews

½ cup water

¼ cup fresh raspberries (or strawberries)

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon Bragg’s

2-3 Medjool dates

Directions

Turn on oven to 375 degrees. Wash and slice pears in half, lengthwise. Using a large spoon, scoop out seeds, making a nice round hole. Carefully peel the skin and cut a thin slice off the rounded pear bottom to help it sit stable.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the pears with the scooped hole facing up on the covered baking tray and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

While the pear bakes, prepare the cream.  Combine all ingredients (except the berries and pears) in a blender. Blend for 20 seconds or until very smooth (soaked cashews which will be soft, blend very easily. If using un-soaked cashews, will need to blend a bit longer).  Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary.  Place in fridge to chill. The cream can also be made in advance and kept in the fridge.

Remove the pears from the oven and place on dessert plates to slightly cool. Mash the raspberries in a bowl with a fork. Add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup if the berries are tart.  Spoon the chocolate cream into the rounded pear hole and spoon the raspberry sauce on top of the cream. Serve immediately.