Strengthening the Bonds of Love with Dessert


By Chef Valerie Wilson

A special homemade pie can be the perfect gift to show your loved ones how much they mean to you. As we celebrate the month of love with Valentine’s day, there is no better time than now to strengthen our bonds with a loved one. Getting together to share time, conversation and laughter is always great, and even better if there is a delicious homemade dessert for sharing. And when the dessert is made with whole, organic, sugar-free ingredients that have vitamins and minerals, the love is even more abundant. 

Pears are one of my favorite fruits and are full of great health benefits. The high potassium, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties in pears make them fantastic for your heart. Pears are high in pectin, which is fiber, making them help reduce high cholesterol, help aid in weight loss, and cleanse toxins out of the body. They also contain vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, flavonoids that are great for your eyes. 

Dark sweet cherries have a wealth of health benefits and make fantastic pies. They are high in vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, magnesium, and manganese. Cherries contain the polyphenol compound called anthocyanins, which has been shown to help reduce your chance of getting cancer and help treat heart disease. 

Pecans are sweet nuts filled with heart and brain-healthy nutrients. They are high in iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids and contain vitamins A, C, E, and B complex. When I created this recipe, my inspiration was a fancy, expanded version of a pecan pie with added fruit. It is rich and full of flavor, and the pecans add a wonderful crunchy texture. I use brown rice syrup as the sweetener for its mild reaction to the body. If you can not find brown rice syrup, maple syrup can be used as a substitute. The maple syrup will give you a much sweeter pie while avoiding the harmful effects of white sugar. 

Pear Cherry Pecan Pie 


3 T. olive oil 

3 T. water 

1/2 cup pecans (crushed) 

1 cup brown rice flour 

1 tsp. cinnamon 

pinch of each: sea salt and allspice 


3 cups organic dark sweet cherries 

3 cups organic pears (cut up)

1/4 cup brown rice syrup 

4 T. arrowroot 

pinch sea salt 

Pecan Topping: 

1/2 cup brown rice syrup 

1/4 cup rice beverage (non-dairy beverage) 

1 cup pecans 

pinch of each: sea salt and allspice 

To make the crust: Mix the crust ingredients. Press into a deep dish, oiled pie pan. To make the filling: Put the filling ingredients in a saucepan, and start to warm the filling on low heat. As the filling cooks stir occasionally, the natural juices from the fruit will mix with the arrowroot to create a thick filling. Pour filling onto the crust. To make the pecan topping: Put the pecan topping in a pan on low heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently pour over the fruit filling. Bake at 350 degrees or one hour. Let completely cool before cutting. 


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