There was a year or two during which I watched The Biggest Loser pretty regularly. The before-and-after pictures reeled me in, and the manufactured drama made sure that channel never changed. I didn't try any recipes, though. They didn't look particularly appealing. And honestly, with all the exercising and emoting going on in that show, the food always seemed kind of superfluous.
That changed this week, after seeing an episode that (*gasp*) focused on healthy eating, rather than Jillian yelling at teenagers with perilously low self-esteem. Cider-Poached Pears with Yogurt and Toasted Almonds was made for two middle-aged moms by occasional guest chef Curtis Stone, who is mainly notable for his cute Australian accent, though he was recently named host for the next season of Top Chef Masters. The dish looked elegant and fairly easy, so I decided to try it at home.
Also? It's elegant and fairly easy. Also: extravagantly spiced, just barely sweet enough, and filled with fruit flavor (the non-Froot Loop kind). It's the kind of dessert you'd serve to guests after a hearty dinner, and they'd never know it was low-calorie, with pretty decent doses of protein and fiber.
Looking forward, I still won't watch Biggest Loser for recipe tips, but it's comforting to know producers have turned their attention just a tad toward sustained, healthy eating. Because now I can concentrate on Jillian yelling.
Healthy & Delicious: Cider-Poached Pears with Yogurt and Toasted Almonds
About This Recipe
|Active time:||15 minutes|
|Total time:||40 minutes|
|Special equipment:||small pan, knife, cutting board, small bowl, zester, measuring cup|
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 2 Bosc pears, peeled, halved, and cored
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
In a small pan over medium-high heat, bring cider, orange juice, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and star anise to a boil.
Place pears face down in the pan. Lower heat and simmer gently until a knife inserted into the pears meets no resistance, about 10-20 minutes.
Once pears are tender, kill heat and let cool in pan. Remove to serving plates and set aside.
Over medium heat, reduce remaining poaching liquid to a glaze. Pour over pears.
Mix orange zest with yogurt. Dollop equally on pears.
Sprinkle almonds over yogurt. Serve.