The American Heart Association recommends eating a diet rich in a variety of colors and types of vegetables and fruits, at least 4.5 cups a day. This recipe is a good way to “sneak” heart-healthy whole grains and nuts into the diet via an irresistible dessert.

Ingredients for the fruit

Cooking spray

Juice of one lemon

5-6 fresh pears, the riper the better

1 cup dried cherries

Zest of one lemon

1/2 cup pear juice (may substitute apple juice)

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon flour

Ingredients for the topping

1 cup vanilla granola

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 cup trans fat-free margarine spread

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Lightly spray a 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. 

Fill a large bowl halfway with cold water and the juice of one lemon. Cut the stems off the pears and peel them, placing each one in the acidulated water as you do so.

Then, half, core and seed the pears and cut them into inch-thick lengthwise slices or chunks, returning each sliced pear to the lemon water until the job is completed.

Drain the cut pears in a colander and return them to the mixing bowl. Add the cherries, lemon zest, pear or apple juice, honey, flavorings, spices, and one tablespoon of flour to the fruit and stir to mix everything well.

Let the fruit macerate for 15 minutes; then place it in the prepared baking dish.

Make the topping. Place the granola, flour, brown sugar, almonds, and spices in a large mixing bowl and toss them together lightly.

Add the margarine spread and use your hands to work the spread into the dry ingredients until blended but crumbly. Spread the topping over the pears.

Place the dish on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake the crumble for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the juices are bubbling and translucent. Serve warm.

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