Friday, July 11, 2008

Garam Masala Pears

I received this recipe from Emilie and I can't wait to try it. You can visit Emilie's excellent Food Blog at:

Thanks for sharing your recipe Emilie!

4 small ripe Comice pears (Anjou or Seckle are good alternatives)
4 Tablespoons agave nector
4 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon lemon juice optional
toasted sesame seeds or toasted coconut for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
peel and core the pears, cut in half and arrange cut-side down in a baking dish
whisk the agave, water, oil, garam masala and lemon together
pour mixture over the pears
bake for 20 minutes, basting the pears halfway through.

I was mentioning to Emilie that all I needed to find now was some agave nectar, but in having done a little research I found that it is available in most food specialty shops and also in health food shops. The following is some useful information about the agave nectar.

The Awesome Agave

The agave (uh-gah-vay) plant has long been cultivated in hilly, semi-arid soils of Mexico. Its fleshy leaves cover the pineapple-shaped heart of the plant, which contains a sweet sticky juice. Ancient Mexicans considered the plant to be sacred. They believed the liquid from this plant purified the body and soul. When the Spaniards arrived, they took the juices from the agave and fermented them, leading to the drink we now call tequila.
But there is a more interesting use for this historic plant. Agave syrup (or nectar) is about 90% fructose. Only recently has it come in use as a sweetener. It has a low glycemic level and is a delicious and safe alternative to table sugar. Unlike the crystalline form of fructose, which is refined primarily from corn, agave syrup is fructose in its natural form. This nectar does not contain processing chemicals. Even better, because fructose is sweeter than table sugar, less is needed in your recipes. It can be most useful for people who are diabetic, have insulin resistance (Syndrome X), or are simply watching their carbohydrate intake.
Fructose has a low glycemic value. However, according to some experts, if fructose is consumed after eating a large meal that overly raises the blood sugar or with high glycemic foods, it no longer has a low glycemic value. Strangely enough, it will take on the value of the higher glycemic food. So exercise restraint, even with this wonderful sweetener. It is a good policy to eat fructose-based desserts on an empty stomach, in between meals or with other low-glycemic foods. Use it for an occasional treat or for a light touch of sweetness in your dishes.


This sweetener is sometimes called "nectar" and sometimes called "syrup". It is the same food.
The light syrup has a more neutral flavor.
In recipes, use about 25% less of this nectar than you would use of table sugar. ¾ cup of agave nectar should equal 1 cup of table sugar. For most recipes this rule works well.
When substituting this sweetener in recipes, reduce your liquid slightly, sometimes as much as 1/3 less.
Reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees.
Agave nectar can be combined with Splenda to counter Splenda's aftertaste and to control the amount of fructose used.
The glycemic index of agave nectar is low.
As a food exchange, a one-teaspoon serving of agave nectar equals a free food. Two servings or two teaspoons equals ½ carbohydrate exchange.

Cheers From Patricia


  1. Hey Patricia,
    I keep a blog on agave nectar at Altered Plates. Please let me know what you think of the recipes.

  2. Lots of Organic Agave Nectar. Visit .