UPSIDE-DOWN PEAR PUDDING PIE
In the thick of autumn, just rounding that corner to the land of justified holiday delights, I often find myself pseudo-panicking (in a not-so-serious, though contemplative fashion) about how I’ll make it out on the other side of it all. Fostering those healthful eating and living habits, while also guiltlessly, mindfully satiating spirit amongst the foamy almond milk pumpkin spice lattes and their even more scrumptious pumpkin pie counterparts.
Resembling a pear upside down cake, though spongier and more moist, my vegan and gluten free Upside-Down Pear Pudding Pie is just the autumnal ambrosia to kick that annual plight. Enormously rich, while remaining so inherently nourishing in the soul kind of way, this naturally sweetened pudding pie is made with a sticky and sweet covering of ripe seckel pears simmered in pomegranate molasses and pulpy orange juice, atop a 3:1 ratio of almond to coconut flour and cardamom spiced base. That kind of sink-your-spoon-into-it saturnalia of seasonal proportions, I serve my vegan pear upside down cake warm, topped with a healthful dollop of coconut vanilla ice cream and dash of cinnamon.
UPSIDE-DOWN PEAR PUDDING PIE
MAKES 1 PIE, 16 SLICES
almond flour cake
3 tablespoons chia seeds
½ cup + 1 tablespoon filtered water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons pulpy orange juice
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1 ¼ cups coconut sugar, divided
10 mini pears (about 1 pound) halved lengthwise and cored (I used Seckel Pears)
1 ½ cups almond flour
½ cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
¾ cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly coat a 9″ springform cake pan with coconut oil and line bottom with a parchment paper round.
In a small bowl, whisk together chia seeds and filtered water until well combined. Allow mixture to sit for a minimum of 15 minutes or until well congealed.
Meanwhile, cook coconut oil, orange juice, ¼ cup pomegranate molasses, and ¼ cup coconut sugar in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add pears, cut side up, and cook (undisturbed) until they begin to release their juices, about 3 minutes. Turn pears over and cook just until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then arrange pears, cut side down, in prepared pan.
Return skillet to medium heat and cook liquid in skillet until thickened and syrupy, about 3-4 minutes, depending on juiciness of pears. Pour syrup over pears and freeze while you prepare the batter (this is to allow syrup to set up, don’t let it freeze solid).
In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and ground cardamom until well mixed. Set aside.
Using an electric mixture on medium speed, or manpower and a whisk, beat gelled chia mixture, remaining cup of coconut sugar, and orange zest until smooth. Fold in dry ingredients in 2 additions, fully incorporating before adding the next addition, then gradually mix in the olive oil. Pour batter over pears and smooth top.
Set pan in foil-rimmed baking sheet and bake pudding pie until top is golden brown, about 55-60 minutes. Cake will still appear very moist, it will continue to solidify once out of the oven’s heat. Place cake in refrigerator to cool completely, then invert onto rack. Serve and enjoy!
inspired by: bon appétit, Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake