Did you ever wonder where cinnamon came from? I don’t mean the place, I mean the plant. I knew that it was produced from tree bark, but never would have recognized the tree.
Well, here it is. A guide showed this tree to us as we walked through the magnificent Botanical Garden in the Seychelles. A cinnamon tree!
It makes sense that one of our most used and most beloved spices comes from something so regal, magnificent, stately.
Not only is the tree a beauty to behold, but it’s fragrant as well. Scratch the surface with a finger and there’s no mistaking what it is.
In the Seychelles you can buy thick pieces of cinnamon bark in most markets. Our guide told us that cinnamon sticks, which don’t have the crusty, rugged surface, are taken from the young limbs of the tree. The bark, apparently, has several kinds of medicinal benefits. But the sticks, as most of us know, make all sorts of food taste wonderful.
Like these baked pears, a warm, sweet-scented, lovely-looking dessert.
4 large ripe pears
half a lemon
1 cup red wine
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
pinch of salt, optional
crushed amaretti cookies, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the pears, cut them in half and remove the cores. Rub the cut surface with the lemon half, reserving the lemon. Place the pears in a baking dish. In a saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, salt and the half lemon. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, cook for two minutes and remove the pan from the heat. Let the mixture cool for 2-3 minutes. Strain the liquid and pour it over the pears. Cover the baking dish and bake the pears for 20 minutes, basting them once or twice. Uncover the dish and bake for another 10 minutes, basting once or twice, or until the pears are tender. Let the pears cool slightly. Serve topped with pan juices and crushed amaretti cookies. Makes 4-8 servings