Saturday, October 11, 2008

VeganMoFo: Iron Chef Challenge

I learned about last week's VeganMoFo Iron Chef Challenge to late to participate. Happily, Katie at Don't Eat Off The Sidewalk handled it again this week and the first thing I did this morning was check the secret ingredient list (aside: I clearly need to join the PPK already... okay I just did!). 

This week's challenge is Pears and Nuts. Hurray! I just bought pears, and I stock my freezer with a variety of nuts, so I was able to get started right away. I'd like to develop another recipe that is more savory, but I thought I'd get this up just to ensure that I get at least one in before the deadline.

This sauce can be used as a topping anywhere you like. I served it over pancakes, but it would be equally delicious over ice cream. It is very rich, so if you decide to eat it for breakfast I'd recommend serving something savory along side. Even B liked this, and he's not particularly fond of pears.

Pear-Cashew Carmel Sauce
This serves 4-8, depending on how saucy you like whatever it is you are serving it with.

1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews, chopped well
2 pears, cored and diced (less ripe, still firm pears are actually preferable)
1 tbsp vegan margarine
1 tsp neutral oil, like canola
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup hemp milk, 1/4 cup reserved
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cornstarch
pinch kosher salt

Preheat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add margarine and oil and allow to melt and then sizzle about 15 seconds. Turn up heat to medium-high and add pears. Stir to coat and then leave it alone. You want them to caramelize a bit and it's going to take a little time. Just stir every minute or so for 3-5 minutes, or until you see most of the pieces are starting to show color.

Add brown sugar and stir constantly with a long handled spoon (this is not the time to use a teaspoon!) until all the sugar is melted. It will start to stick to the bottom, this is okay as long as it is not burning. Add cashew pieces, stir to incorporate, then immediately pour in about a 1/2 cup of the hemp milk. Mixture will bubble vigorously. Continue stirring until it returns to a normal simmer and allow to cook about 2 minutes until sauce darkens a bit.

Dissolve cornstarch in reserved 1/4 cup hemp milk and add to sauce along with remaining hemp milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes. Mixture should darken a bit more and thicken slightly. 

Serve warm over whatever you fancy.


Jen Treehugger said...

Oh wow! These look amazing!!
Yay for joining the PPK'ers - I'm hedge over there - I'll look out for you.

Megan said...

Yummy. Those look so sticky and delish.

Jenn said...

That's a really creative topping. Looks delicious!

the little one said...

Nice entry! I so miss carmel sauce so I will definitely be making your recipe!

Anonymous said...

Pear, cashew, and caramel all sound delicious! Great job!

x said...

Woh, pear and cashew caramel sauce, sounds delish!