Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Dehydrated Pear Chips With Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce and How To Care For Pears

Dehydrated Pear Chips With Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce

I bought a simple, inexpensive dehydrator machine at my local grocery store (a Real Canadian Superstore) last Christmas as a gift to myself. You can also find dehydrators online, of course, as well as at Canadian Tire. I often scan the Canadian Tire flyers for sales on small kitchen appliances. As I've said before, I have a bit of an addiction. Often when I get a new kitchen appliance (I'm looking at you spiralizer) I don't use it right away. At first glance it looks like I'm jam-packing our kitchen with machines for no reason (ahem). But I always end up using these appliances in the long run.

The dehydrator is no different. I needed an opportunity to get comfortable with it and it turns out that the abundance of Bartlett Pears from California available this summer inspired me to plug in the dehydrator, finally. California Barletts are available several weeks before the Canadian ones, for just a few weeks in July and August. Read more about the benefits of pears in my last post, which also includes a recipe for Kale Salad With Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears.

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Dehydrated Pear Chips With Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce

How to dehydrate pears

In order to dehydrate pears for this recipe, first cut three Bartlett pears into thin slices (1/8-inch to 1/4-inch), discarding seeds and fibrous parts. This recipe also inspired me to pull out the under-used mandoline that my mom gave me, in order to slice the pears into more consistently sized slices. But you could also use a good knife and a steady hand.

To keep pears from browning too much during the dehydrating process, soak the freshly cut slices in a bath of water mixed with lemon juice for a few minutes. Then place the pear slices on the dehydrator's trays, leaving space between each slice. Follow the instructions for your food dehydrator to dehydrate the pear slices - expect it to take 8 to 12 hours at about 130 degrees F. You can definitely also dehydrate pear chips in the oven, but I have yet to try it myself so I'm not able to give instructions.

Dehydrated Pear Chips With Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce

Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce

This is a super speedy way to make a vegan caramel sauce! Simply place brown sugar, cornstarch and coconut milk (scoop the thick part from the can) in a small pot. Bring to a boil and simmer gently, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens (just a few minutes). Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy dipping the healthy, chewy pear chips in this smooth and buttery sauce.

Cornstarch is our friend in this recipe, allowing us to make a quick sauce without the need for lots of boiling or a candy thermometer. But the cornstarch can cause the sauce to separate like gravy - if that happens, whisk the caramel sauce before serving. My daughter and my husband both love this quick vegan caramel sauce, which could also be used over ice cream.

Dehydrated Pear Chips With Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce

How to choose good quality pears

California pear growers have this advice for selecting pears:
  • Look for firm, well-shaped fruit. Buy a mix of green pears to ripen at home and some golden pears to enjoy immediately.
  • A ripe pear is relatively firm but gives a little when pressed gently.
  • Good quality pears are smooth-skinned, not shriveled and free of surface markings.
  • Try the stem test - put gentle pressure on the top of the pear near the stem. If it gives way a little, then it's ripe. Because pears ripen on the outside last, by the time the outside is soft it's overripe.
  • Minor blemishes do not affect the flavour or quality of the pear.

How to care for and store pears

  • When California Bartletts are green and firm, set them in a fruit bowl at room temperature for four to six days and they will ripen on their own.
  • Ripe pears can spoil easily and their flavour is best when they're cool. Refrigerate to preserve ripeness, which will hold for three to five days.
  • Handle pears with care to avoid bruising. Simply rinse under cool running water prior to use. Do not peel, core or slice until ready to use.

California Bartlett Pears

For information and more recipe ideas, visit

What's your favourite way to serve pears? Do you have a dehydrator?

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Dehydrated Pear Chips With Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce #glutenfree #vegan

Dehydrated Pear Chips With Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce


  by Joann MacDonald
Ingredients (serves 4)
    Pear Chips
    • 3 California Bartlett Pears
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 4 cups water
    Quick Vegan Caramel Sauce
    • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
    • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
    • ½ cup coconut milk (use the thick part at the top of the can)
    • Pinch of salt
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract

    For The Pears
    In a large bowl, stir together lemon juice and water. Cut ends off of pears and discard. Slice pears into ⅛-inch slices using a Mandoline slicer or a knife, discarding seeds and fibrous parts. Soak pear slices in the lemon water bath for 3 minutes (to prevent browning during dehydrating). Lay out on dehydrator trays, leaving space between slices. Follow the instructions for your food dehydrator to dehydrate pear slices. The manual for my dehydrator recommends dehydrating pears for 8 to 12 hours at 130 degrees F.

    For the Caramel Sauce
    Place the sugar, cornstarch and coconut milk in a small pot. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in salt and vanilla. Allow to cool slightly. Sauce may separate some - if that happens, whisk before serving.

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