Why is it important to be heart healthy? Today’s post really hits home as a lot of people are affected by heart disease, whether it runs in the family or whether it’s someone they know. Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen from Juanita’s Cocina want to dedicate today to their loved ones and invited me to share a heart-healthy treat. Of course, being the girl who loves fat, it was a little bit of a challenge, but thanks to my dad’s love of fruit, I made these Mini Pear Walnut Crisps with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce. With just only two servings, you can share this dessert with your loved one and know that dessert can be heart healthy.
Kim’s and Jen’s lives were turned upside down one day because of heart disease. Fortunately, I don’t have any stories like that in my family, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore being heart healthy. My dad’s friend suffered a heart attack a few years ago. Then just two weeks ago there were several people in my community who either passed away from or survived a heart attack. Every day that my parents get older, I worry about their health. It almost makes me want to move closer to home (actually, I would in a heart beat, but it’s all about job availability).
I thought about doing a healthy dinner or even breakfast, but I wanted to challenge myself and make a heart healthy dessert. After all, you need a little sweetness in life, no matter what your diet is. What makes these Mini Pear Walnut Crisps heart healthy? The fruit and the nuts. Pears are a great source of vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants that help prevent high blood pressure and stroke. Walnuts have been approved by the FDA for being heart healthy. There is also little fat added (the ice cream part is optional if you’re super conscious about calories).
Of course, you can’t have a warm crisp without ice cream, and you can’t have ice cream without sauce. I still have half a bunch of blood oranges left, which inspired the Blood Orange Caramel Sauce. I remember when I made Dorie Greenspan’s Scallops with Orange Caramel Sauce. I took her recipe, used blood orange juice then substituted water for the wine.
- 1 cup chopped pear, peeled (roughly 1 small pear)
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon clove
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 Tablespoon quick cooking oats
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon clove
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons blood orange juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 Tablespoon butter
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Have two ramekins ready.
- In a medium bowl, toss together the pear, walnuts, lemon juice, vanilla, cornstarch, cinnamon, and clove. Spoon into the ramekins. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and clove. Cut in the butter with a knife until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over both ramekins. Bake 30-35 minutes or until crisp bubbles and the streusel is brown.
- Toss apple and pear slices with lemon juice and vanilla in large bowl. Mix cornstarch and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in small bowl. Sprinkle over fruit; toss to coat well. Spoon into 11x7-inch baking dish sprayed with no stick cooking spray.
- For the Topping, mix brown sugar, flour, oats and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over fruit.
- Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown.
- While the crisps are baking, in a small saucepan, warm the sugar over medium-high heat until it starts to melt. As soon as you see it turn brown, begin to gently swirl the pan. Once it starts turning a caramel color, very carefully add the orange juice and water (it will bubble and spatter, so you may need to stand back). Stir with a wooden spoon and boil until it is reduced by half (it should roughly be about 2 1/2 tablespoons or so). Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Serve the crisps with ice cream and caramel sauce.
Source: Adapted from McCormick and Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table
If you are looking for more heart healthy recipes, check out the other bloggers participating today: