Pear Cranberry Compote with Choco-Wafers
Holiday meals, whether at home or at my grandmother’s, always concluded with a small bowl of stewed dried fruits perfectly sweetened and laced with cinnamon. Homemade Choco-Wafers turn this delicious, unpretentious compote into an elegant, alluring dessert. Recipe and photo contributed by Zel Allen, from Vegans for the Holidays.*
Serves: about 6
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup pitted dates, snipped in half
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoons golden raisins
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 fresh Anjou or Bosc pears, cored, quartered, and sliced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/3 cup black raisins
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons coarsely ground toasted, walnut, almonds, or hazelnuts, for garnish
To make the Choco-Wafers:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put all the wafer ingredients in a food processor. Process until all the ingredients are well incorporated, the nuts are broken down to a fine, but slightly textured meal, and the mixture reaches a very thick, finely mashed, firm consistency, stopping occasionally to scrape down the workbowl.
Spoon the wafer mixture into the prepared baking sheet and use the back of the spoon to form it into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle approximately 8 inches by 9 inches.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the wafer is set and almost dry to the touch but still soft. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. It will firm as it cools. When cool, cut into 2 or 3-inch squares and set aside until ready to serve or put the squares in a ziplock bag and refrigerate.
To make the Compote:
Combine the pears, cranberries, brown sugar, raisins, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and water in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately, decrease the heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes, or until the pears are softened.
To thicken the juice in the pan, combine the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a small cup or bowl and stir until smooth. Stir the paste into the simmering compote a little at a time, stirring constantly for about 1 minute, or until thickened to desired consistency.
To serve, spoon the compote into small dessert dishes and garnish each with the walnuts, if desired. Tuck 2 wafers into the center or sides of the compote.
Visit Zel Allen at Vegetarians in Paradise.
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