As the holidays approach, many of us are bringing the kids into the kitchen and passing down our cooking traditions. This is definitely a favorite rite of passage for parents and kiddos alike! I know cooking has helped me as a stepmom; it is something K and I can do and enjoy together-and she loves it! Today I am honored to partner with today’s sponsor, Shriners Hospital for Children so we can pass on a favorite holiday baked pear recipe while reminding everyone to Be Burn Aware while in the kitchen.
Christmas time is almost here and families are gathering ’round to trim the tree, decorate the house and do one of my favorite things about the holidays – cook all those wonderful holiday treats!
If you’ve perused my Facebook or Instagram, you know I love baked pear recipes. Luckily, there are several varieties of pears available throughout fall and winter. They’re delicious and give you something a bit different than most traditional Christmas sweets. Of course, they’re super easy to make so have the kiddos help on this one! Today K and I sharing our favorite baked pear recipe with you. We hope you’ll love it as much as we do.
Partridge in a Christmas Pear Tree
Baked Pear Recipe
Here’s what you’ll need for this baked pear recipe:
4 pears, peeled with stems left on. Note: do not slice them in half on this recipe
4 whole cloves (if you really like clove, you can add up to 8)
4 cups of water
4 star anise (don’t crush these-you want these intact and whole)
4 pinches of ground cinnamon (for later)
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cups cane sugar
1 cup of raw honey + a little to the side for star anise placement (local to your area-I really recommend getting it from a local beekeeper)
1 lemon, cut in quarters
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract-Mexican vanilla preferable)
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry
A little bit of flour so you can work with the puff pastry
Optional: Vanilla bean ice-cream
Tip: Star anise and whole cloves can run anywhere from $5-$10. Cinnamon sticks can run even more. If you go to the aisle with Hispanic food ingredients, you can find these for much less. I paid for .87¢ for the star anise and $1.22 each for the whole cloves and cinnamon sticks.
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C
You can core your pears or leave them intact. This depends on whether you want to work around the pears when you and your guests slice into them. I prefer to core mine, again – either works fine.
Put the water, cloves, quartered lemon, cinnamon sticks, sugar and honey into saucepan with the vanilla. If you use a vanilla bean, scrape it into the sauce pan. Mix everything and place pears into the pan with the mixture. Bring it to a slow boil and leave the pears in there for about 20 minutes, spooning the mixture over every so often.
Remove the pears, put them on a baking sheet and keep the liquid simmering.
Flour a surface and unroll your puff pastry. Cut the pastry into strips then “fray” the edges. Wrap these around the pears from bottom to top.
Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Since oven times vary, keep an eye on it. Some ovens may even take 25 minutes. Once the puff pastry is golden, they’re done!
While the pears are baking, boil the liquid you kept on simmer the side until it thickens. It usually takes about 10-12 minutes. As it cools down, it will thicken.
Once the pears are done, remove from the oven and plate them. Drizzle the mixture over the pears, then take a bit of mixture using honey to thicken it if necessary and place on the back of a star anise, affixing it to the stem area of the pear. This will be the “star” on your tree.
If you’d like yours à la mode, add a scoop of the ice-cream.
Sprinkle with cinnamon, serve and enjoy!
They’re so cute, right?
Now, before I go, let’s get serious for a minute.
Cooking with Kids
Years ago, I was trapped in an Alarm II figure. It was just a few weeks after Christmas and the neighbor below my friend’s apartment was cooking. She accidentally started a grease fire and unfortunately, it got out of control. I was extremely lucky the fireman who carried me out found me on time. After a stay in ICU, I was on my way to healing. It wasn’t an easy road, but having support made all of the difference. This is why I believe so much in Shriners Hospitals for Children and their Be Burn Awarecampaign. When kids and families need them, they’re there. All care and services at Shriners Hospitals for Children are provided regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
As with my experience, catastrophe can happen to anyone. It’s definitely not something we want think about during the holidays (or at all), but awareness is key. Cooking with kids poses its own set of unique set of dangers, so it’s important to remember that little minds wander and so do little hands. Open flames on gas stoves, or hot coils on electric as well as heated ovens can be dangerous.
So, what can you do?
Here are some of the ways you can prevent burns and keep your kitchen a safer place:
Keep fire and smoke alarms in working order. When the time changes, change those batteries.
It may seem obvious, but if they’re old enough, talk to your kids! Make up a set of rules for while you’re cooking. Enforce them.
Assign cooking tasks. Younger kids can mix ingredients and place things like cookie dough on baking sheets while the older ones can stir what’s on the stove (with proper attire and a stool if necessary) and/or put baking sheets into the oven. If you have siblings that “compete” over these things, make it a rite of passage with age.
Personalize oven mits and aprons to encourage their usage.
When you’re cooking with pots and pans on the stovetop, turn the handles toward the back of the stove to prevent little hands from grabbing.
If something does catch fire, have a lid, towel or fire extinguisher nearby to put it out.
Be aware. Don’t leave children unattended in the kitchen. We know accidents happen, but make this a rule for yourself, too.
You can even order free materials like activity books and fact cards from Shriners Hospitals. They feature kid-friendly characters, Boots and Brewster, and make teaching fire-safety relatable and approachable. Of course, I love that one of the characters is a tea pot!
Shriners Hospitals for Children
Shriners Hospitals is a health care system with 22 locations in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Four of the hospitals specialize in burn care. For 95 years, they have provided life-changing care to more than 1.3 million children going being traditional methods. Started in 1964, theirs is also the longest standing burn education program in the US. In addition to burn care, Shriners Hospitals for Children provides specialty care for children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.
My lungs were damaged in the fire from smoke inhalation. It still affects me today. I am fortunate to have continued support and I think it’s wonderful that Shriners Hospitals for Children thinks about these things, too. They provide all aspects of treatment, including surgery, rehabilitation and psychological support. The ancillary services offered by Shriners Hospitals include a school re-entry program for children to ease the transition back to the classroom after being hospitalized.
If you know a child Shriners Hospitals for Children may be able to help, have their parent or guardian call 800-237-5055.
What are your rules?
What are you cooking up with the kids this holiday season? Let me know if you try our baked pear recipe and feel free to leave links in the comments with your own burn prevention tips. I’m looking forward to hearing how you keep safe making your favorites. Happy and safe creating, everyone. Now I’m off to grab one of those pears before they’re all gone! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading our recipe and about Shriners Hospitals – something so incredibly near and dear to me.