Our family has always loved cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. We used to just open a can, slice it and that was it. However, one year my mom made cranberry pears and we all loved it so much that now it makes a regular appearance each Thanksgiving!
There are two ways to make cranberry pears and I will share both of them with you. One version takes about 5 minutes of preparation (this is the way I used to make them) and the other (healthier version) takes 15 or 20 minutes to prep (depending on how fast you can peel pears). Either way, most of the work is done by a slow cooker (Crock-Pot).
Last year I started eating Paleo which in short meant no more processed or refined food of any kind. So for us I make a healthy, free of refined sugars (but still sweet) version of cranberry pears.
Note: canned cranberry sauces main ingredient (depending on brand) is sugar or high fructose corn syrup. So, using canned berries is not an option for our family... Fresh cranberries is what I choose to use.
The recipe I make is simple using only three ingredients: Fresh cranberries, 100% pure maple syrup (from a tree, I like Grade B), and pears (I used fresh organic).
Directions: (Healthy version)
Turn the crock pot on Low then add the following:
12 ounces of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
4 ripe pears (peeled, cored and cut into slices)
Stir and let simmer on low for three to four hours (sample taste at about two hours to see if more sweetener. Keep in mind that fresh cranberries can be quite tart depending on their ripeness, so you can add extra maple syrup if needed.
As the cranberries cook they will soften and split open spreading their flavor throughout the pears. Depending on how many people you are feeding you can adjust the recipe size. We like to serve them warm but they can also be made in advance and served chilled. They taste excellent either way. You can substitute the maple syrup with agave, honey and/or a combination of the three. Whichever sweetener you prefer will work.
Now for the super simple five minute version (3 minutes if you are fast with a can opener)...
Directions: (quick and easy)
Turn crock pot on low:
Open a can or two of pear halves (or slices), quickly drain them and pour them into crock pot,
Open a can of whole berry cranberry and pour/spoon it into crock pot...
Simmer on low for three hours.
Yep, that's it. Serve warm or chilled.
It doesn't get any easier than that folks! We made it the simple way for years... The pears absorb the cranberry flavor and taste amazing :)
Whichever way you choose, cranberry pears will be a hit with your family!
Blessings to you and yours,
More Crock Pot Thanksgiving Ideas