A dessert that celebrates the other star of the seasonal produce section — pears…
This week, many of us are preparing to gather with friends, family and chosen families to celebrate the things we’re most thankful for in life. Health, friendships, freedom, safety, the ability to travel… Whether or not you celebrate American Thanksgiving, I can’t think of a better time to take stock of the things we might otherwise take for granted. I love the rituals of this holiday. The rituals of sharing and giving back, of nourishing our loved ones with lovingly prepared, home cooked food and expressions of our appreciation. And reminding ourselves just how good we have it. Many will remind us we should be giving thanks and giving back year round — and I strongly agree — but I like to think of Thanksgiving as a calendar reminder. A little pop-up emphasizing the importance of saying thank you before the year is through.
This year, I’ll be hosting a small group of friends for the holiday, and I’ve been thinking about what to make for weeks. I’ve always loved baking, so the holidays are my time to put my passion to work. While I love pumpkin pie as much as the next person — possibly more, to be honest — when it comes to late-fall desserts, pumpkin can feel a bit… played out. Especially if you’re headed to a potluck, Friendsgiving, or family gathering where, odds are, you’re likely to be met with at least five different versions of the Thanksgiving classic, all of which have been crowned “the best” by their respective creators. So this year I’m going against the grain and bringing a dessert that celebrates the other star of the seasonal produce section: pears.
Beginning first with the arrival of Bartlett pears in late summer, pear season stretches through the holidays, when lesser celebrated, but better tasting varieties arrive. Tiny Sekel, with their rosy-pink flesh that tastes of ginger and spice. Smooth, sweet Comice. And recipe-friendly Anjou, among others. I never thought myself much of a pear person, remembering the sickeningly sweet canned pears we had in our pantry growing up, that was until I discovered the dizzying variety available. In the spirit of this week’s holiday, today I’m sharing with you a recipe for a vegan pear galette with vegan almond paste. Don’t be fooled by the number of steps below — this tart comes together easily and makes a gorgeous impression with the flavors of pear mingling with sweet almond paste. I recommend serving it with vegan ice cream or coconut whipped cream — but it’s delicious all on its own, too!
Rustic Vegan Almond Pear Galette
1 cup spelt flour
6 tbsp coconut oil, solid
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup or liquid sweetener
½ tsp salt
Ice water, about 4 tbsp
Vegan Almond Paste:
¾ cup super-fine almond meal
½ cup coconut sugar
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal + 2.5 tbsp warm water)
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
Optional but recommended: 1 tsp rose water
Four medium pears, sliced ¼-inch thick
Sprinkle of coconut sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and take out a baking sheet.
To make the crust, place spelt flour and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
Scoop the coconut oil into the flour one tablespoon at a time. Pour the apple cider vinegar/maple syrup mixture over this.
Use a fork or pastry cutter to incorporate the coconut oil and ACV/maple syrup mixture with the flour, mixing and cutting in until the flour resembles wet sand.
Spoon in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, cutting in with a fork after each tablespoon until the mixture begins to come together (you may need more or less water).
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a ball, Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and place in the fridge while you make the almond paste.
To make the almond paste, combine all almond paste ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. The consistency should be sticky and clay-like. Add more maple syrup or water if needed.
Remove dough ball from the fridge. On a piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough to a large circle, about ⅛” thick. Transfer the dough on the parchment to the baking sheet.
Spoon the almond paste into the centre of the flattened dough and use your fingers to spread it evenly, stopping about 2” before the edge of the dough.
Arrange the pear slices in an overlapping circle over the paste, sprinkle with coconut sugar. Fold edges of the dough over the top to cover the edges of the pears. If the dough cracks, you can use a small amount of water to smooth it out.
Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until crust is dark golden and pears are bubbling.
Serve with vegan ice cream or coconut whipped cream. Enjoy!
+ More healthy Thanksgiving recipes here