Slow cookers make cooking look easy even for the most novice chefs. Stick a few (or a ton of) ingredients in there and then you’re free to leave it alone for six or more hours while it works its magic. However, did you know they can also be used to prepare desserts?
Slow cookers are a lifesaver for many who don’t have the time or patience to spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals for themselves or their family, but don’t start cleaning up and putting it away once you’ve finished with dinner. Unbeknownst to some people, there are a surprising number of desserts you can easily prepare with your slow cooker. From cakes to pudding, there are a bunch of possibilities that require minimal effort. Mix up your usual family desserts with the following recipe, which is healthy and can also be bumped up a notch for special guests with a drizzle of chocolate glaze.
Ginger Poached Pears
Makes 4 servings
Juice of 1 lemon
1 can ginger ale
2 strips lemon peel, 2 x ½", bitter white pith removed
6 slices (size of a quarter) fresh ginger
4 medium pears (Bartlett, Anjou, or Bosc), slightly underripe, but fragrant – with stems
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
Honey Yogurt Cream (Recipe here).
Combine lemon juice and 4 cups water in a medium bowl. Place the ginger ale, lemon peel, and fresh ginger in the ceramic pot of the Cuisinart® Slow Cooker; stir. Peel the pears, leaving the stem intact; cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that it stands upright. As each pear is peeled, dip into the lemon water to prevent darkening and stand it in the ginger liquid in the slow cooker.
Cover and press the on/off button to turn the unit on. Set time to 4 hours and press Low. When pears are tender, turn slow cooker off. Allow pears to cool in poaching liquid. Chill in liquid. (If desired, before serving, liquid may be thickened to a syrup-like consistency by simmering until it is reduced by half.) To serve, arrange each pear on a deep plate (rimmed soup bowl works well). Spoon poaching liquid over pears. Garnish with a dollop of Honey Yogurt Cream and sprinkle with chopped crystallized ginger.