In this recipe, Asian pears are filled with honey and Chinese dates and gently steamed. If Asian pears are unavailable, Bartlett pears can be used instead. Chinese red dates are also known as jujubes (strictly speaking, they are not a date at all). Their sweet flavor makes them a popular ingredient in Chinese dessert soups and congees, and in steamed foods. If unavailable, regular dates or raisins can be used instead. Of course, you can also leave them out altogether and simply steam the pears with honey.
- 2 Asian pears
- 4 teaspoons honey
- 2 dried Chinese dates (softened in cold water, slitted, and the pits removed)
- Optional: lemon juice (to brush on the pears to prevent discoloration)
1. Wash the pears and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the top off the pears and set aside (these will become the lid). Remove the core. If desired, cut off a small slice at the bottom so that the pear will stand straight during steaming. (Note: Depending on the type of steaming equipment you are using, you may find it difficult to stand the pears upright and cover for steaming. In that case, slice the pears lengthwise, core, and spoon the honey and place the date in the hollow in the middle.)
Spoon 2 teaspoons honey into each pear. Add 1 Chinese date. Place the top back on the pear. Brush the lemon juice over the skin of the pear if using.
3. Set up a steamer, or place a rack for steaming inside a deep pot. Place the pears on a plate and steam, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the pears are tender. Serve warm.