By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist
Cooling fall temperatures and in season pears are the inspiration for this pear-oatmeal crisp dessert. It offers great taste and is more nutrient dense than many typical desserts. And there’s nothing like the scent of baking pears, oatmeal, and cinnamon wafting through your house. See the recipe and key ingredient benefits below:
- 6 medium fresh pears, cored and cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup of dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup instant oats
- 1.5 teaspoon stevia (dry bulk)
- 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 11 x 7 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the pears, cranberries, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and cinnamon and toss to mix ingredients evenly. Pour into the baking pan.
In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, and stevia. Cut in the butter with a pastry knife or two butter knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Distribute evenly over the pear mixture. Bake at 350 F for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the pears are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with low fat frozen yogurt (optional).
Yield: 4-6 servings.
Note: for a gluten free variation of this recipe use gluten free vanilla extract, gluten free all purpose flour, and gluten free oats.
Key Ingredient Benefits
Pears are a good source of fiber, which not only helps to ensure regularity and prevent constipation, but has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Diets high in fiber have also been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Pears are a good source of vitamin C and copper. Both have antioxidant properties and Vitamin C also supports good immune function. A recent study found that consuming white flesh fruit, such as pears, was associated with a reduced risk of stroke. Pears contain the flavonoid quercetin, which is suggested to be the active ingredient in stroke prevention and is one of the key ingredients in our Youthful Energy product.
Cranberries, like pears, are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber and have long been known for their ability to prevent and treat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). Cranberries also contain several different types of powerful phytonutrients which are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, regulation of glucose metabolism, and anti-cancer benefits. One class of these nutrients is the polyphenols, which are present in 3 of our supplements, Resveratrol, Youthful Energy and Q-Veratrol.
Lemons contain citrus bioflavonoids called limonoids that help the immune system and have antioxidant properties. Lemons are also a good source of flavonol glycosides, which have anti-microbial properties, and a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and fiber. The vitamin C, potassium and limonoids in lemons may prevent inflammation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, combat harmful free radicals, and help fight cancer.
Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and has many additional health benefits. Cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties after eating. In addition, it may improve insulin sensitivity, which has positive implications for those with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, cinnamon has anti-microbial properties which may help deter the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Oatmeal contains a type of fiber called beta-glucan. A diet high in this type of fiber can help help maintain healthy lipids, lower cholesterol levels and reduce one’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Bet-glucan also helps to stabilize blood sugar and may support the immune system. Oatmeal contains antioxidants called avenanthramides which play an important role in overall cardiovascular health.
A note about sugar and stevia. We think it is advisable to limit sugar intake (See Juvenon Health Journal Volume 10, Number 4, "Sugar: should it have a warning label"). In this recipe we’ve substituted some of the brown sugar with a natural herbal sweetener, stevia. The small amount of brown sugar used gives the pear-oatmeal crisp a nice flavor and the small amount of stevia used contributes to sweetness without raising blood sugar levels.
Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.