Gluten-Free Living

Roasted Chai-Spiced Pears

Confession: Pears are not my favorite fruit when served fresh, but when baked, mmm—they really transform! Not to mention, in this recipe, we’re mixing up a sweet ricotta cream similar to the ricotta and mascarpone cream in cannoli. Also, to claim some regional pride: Did you know that Oregon and Washington produce eighty-four percent of the United States’ pears? It’s the climate, volcanic soil, and mountain water! Pears also bake surprisingly fast compared with apples, so this dessert is beautiful, delicious, and easy-breezy.


  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or liquid honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta (see directions for dairy-free recipe)
  • 1/4 cup real coconut cream or coconut milk (100 percent either way, no fillers; not coconut butter)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 large D’Anjou or Bartlett pears
  • 2 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup with the ricotta (click here for the recipe for Dairy-Free Fresh Ricotta) and coconut cream in a medium-size bowl. Sprinkle in half of the nutmeg and half of the cardamom and mix well. Place the bowl of cream in the fridge for about 15 to 30 minutes to firm up.

Slice the pears in half lengthwise and use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds, which creates the perfect little vessel for our ricotta cream. Place the pears in a baking dish, cut sides up.

Mix the remaining nutmeg and cardamom with the remaining maple syrup and brush the spiced syrup over the top of the pears, reserving the extra. Bake the pears for 15 minutes or until they are tender, but not mushy.

You can serve the pears hot, but I prefer to let them cool completely so that the coconut cream doesn’t melt. Dollop the ricotta cream into the hollowed-out pears, top with pistachios, and drizzle with the reserved spiced maple syrup. So pretty, so good!

Excerpted from One-Hour Dairy-Free Cheese: Make Mozzarella, Cheddar, Feta, and Brie-Style Cheeses—Using Nuts, Seeds, and Vegetables by Claudia Lucero (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Matthew Benson.

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