Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pear Crisp for the "Clean" Eater

I've been making a real effort to eat a lot cleaner. I am trying to cut most processed food in general. I'm trying to eat almost no white flour. And I'm doing my best to cut out processed sugar. It's all hard, but we take baby steps as a family. 

I am making a real effort to just not buy the junky processed food at the store. Very few boxes, frozen dinners, and canned food make it in the house these days.  We've switched to Annie's organic Mac and cheese. I skip the frozen dinner aisle at Costco. I make my own spaghetti sauce. I only buy bread with basic ingredients (luckily Costco carries a great whole wheat bread without all the junk for only $3 a loaf). And I actually try to make my own bread more often than buying it. Daisy sour cream (truly just cultured cream) instead of western family with its unpronounceable ingredient list. Plain yogurt that we sweeten at home with fruit and honey. It costs a little more but I know it's the best choice for my family. 

And I'm far from perfect. I still splurge on Lin Lin potstickers, the occasional frozen pizza for the kids, and I have a hard time giving up cold cereal (I do only buy cereal where the first ingredient is whole grain and not corn). I know I have a long way to go, but like I said baby steps. 

Eating whole grains is fairly easy for us. The kids do get excited if they get to eat a sandwich on white bread. And I do love white flour tortillas. And if I'm making Kalua pig and panipopo, you better believe I'm making those rolls with all white flour.  But for the most part, whole grains are the easy part for us. 

Sugar on the other hand, not so easy. I'm kind of torn on this subject. If I'm making a delicious dessert and splurging, why not just use good old a fashioned processed white sugar? I bought the organic raw sugar and tried it, but really it's still sugar, its still processed and it still has zero nutritional value so why waste my money? We've omitted fake maple syrup from our diet. I use honey to sweeten many things. So in general we eat less sugar, but I'm still not all on the no sugar train. 

But I'm still looking for ways to cut back but still be able to satisfy my many many sweet teeth I have. So tonight I had a fridge full of ripe pears that needed using, and I thought I would try a naturally sweetened pear crisp with all clean ingredients. And I think the result turned out fabulously. 

The pears were so naturally sweet and juicy, the crisp was exactly what a good crisp is supposed to be - crispy, lightly sweet and a perfect compliment to the hot, juicy pears. I think this recipe is a definite keeper. But I'd love to hear what you think. 

Pear Crisp the Clean Way

6 c peeled ripe sliced pears (home canned would also work as long as they were canned in juice or super super light syrup. I make mine with a 10% sugar solution and I figure that would be ok, but fresh is obviously better).

2 T lemon juice
2 T apple juice concentrate (basically sugar, but I figure its better than just putting in table sugar)

1 1/2 c old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1 cube cold butter, cut in cubes
1/4-1/2 c honey
1 t cinnamon 
1/2 c unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 c pecans 

Combine filling ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 2 qt baking dish. 

For topping combine oats, flour, cinnamon and butter in food processor or mix with pastry cutter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add in honey and combine until clumpy but not too sticky. Mix in pecans and coconut if desired. Mixture should be moist but not like a batter. This is where you need to watch the honey. Drop over filling to cover but don't press down. 

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. Pears should be bubbly and crisp should be brown and crispy.