As you may remember we make homemade granola about once a month or so. We try to mix it up when possible and make new flavors so that no one gets bored with it, letting it go stale and uneaten. This last time we decided to take advantage of the pears that are so good this time of year and combine it with dried cranberries. We found the best way to incorporate fresh fruit into granola is to cook it down to a near liquid, blend it, and use in place of the oil. I typically add a tablespoon or two of water to prevent the fruit from sticking to the pan and to help reach my desired consistency to the fruit puree. If you use too much of the cooked fruit to the granola it will never crisp up properly and runs the risk of getting moldy in no time.
We decided to make pear rather than pumpkin for two reasons. The first being that we had just made pumpkin granola bars and we also wanted to try something new and pumpkin granola is something we have had before. This pear flavor turned out to be a subtle but noticeable change in flavor from the usual kind we make. If you would like a stronger flavor you may want to see if you can find dried pear to add to the granola but I thought it was good without. However when eating this granola over yogurt I did add a sliced fresh pear and that really added depth of flavor.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat one diced pear and a tablespoon of water in a saucepan over medium heat until the pear completely breaks down, blend and add honey while warm. Add vanilla and cinnamon to pear mixture and and stir to incorporate. Meanwhile spread oats and almonds in a single layer on a jelly roll pan and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the remaining dry ingredients in a bowl with the toasted oats and nuts then add the warm liquid mixture and stir together making sure to coat evenly. Spread mixture evenly on a greased (sprayed) jelly roll pan. Bake for 25 min total, flipping half way through. The granola should not change color, if it darkens then it is most likely burnt. Let cool on the pan for 30 min, place finished granola in an air tight container. Granola is good for at least 3 weeks when kept in a cool dry place.
Much Love, Aislinn and Emily