Pears can be a tricky food for children to get to like, because they can be very variable in texture. If that is true for your child, then this Pear and Coconut Milkshake is a great recipe to get children to appreciate the sweetness and fragrance of a pear without the texture issues of a whole pear coming in to play.
Because pears are one of those fruits which stay very firm right up until they ripen, and then when they ripen they go soft very quickly, they are usually shipped when still very firm. Many of the varieties are therefore crisp but not sweet at that point. A lot of children eat pears in the free fruit scheme at school and find them to be too hard. But when they are overripe they can find them too grainy and the contrast between the soft flesh and the leathery skin too much.
But it's worth persevering with trying pears because a perfectly ripe pear, the juice running down your chin, is a genuinely glorious thing.
This recipe is great if you have pears that are lovely and sweet but you know have got too soft for your child to like the texture. They need to be ripe for this to work well. You can keep coconut milk in the cupboard for when you have overripe fruit and this recipe can be reused for most ripe fruit. This recipe is so creamy.
You will need a blender for this recipe. If you don't have one, the only way to make it is to either have the pears super ripe, or to poach them a little in a microwave or pan until they are really soft and mash them really really well. If you need to do it that way, we recommend peeling them first, as the peel is hard to mash small enough to stop it being noticed in the milkshake.
Ingredients (makes about 2 portions)
Two ripe sweet pears
Half a can (approx 200ml) coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional 1 teaspoon maple syrup to taste depending on the pears
Optional ice cubes if you want it cold and a bit fast-food-shake textured
Optional milk (or plant milk) if you like it thinner texture, not if you like it thick
Optional half teaspoon of ground ginger
Cutting board and child-safe knife for cutting up pears, optional teaspoon for removing cores depending on child's skill
If the pears have thick furry skins you may want a peeler
Tin opener for coconut milk. Recommend jug and spoon or small whisk to mix it
Instructions for children:
Get your pears ready.
First check the skin - If they have really thick skins and you think they might give you lots of flecky bits in your milkshake, then you can peel them. If they are not thick and furry, try to keep them because they have lots of goodness and fibre in them. If you're not sure, peel a little bit and give it a chew. If you can bite straight through it and it isn't chewy and furry, you can probably keep it!
If you want to peel them, use your peeler to safely take most of the skin off. You don't need to take all of it off, just most of it. Ask a grown up to help you use the peeler safely. Peel away from your hand. Use a board to make it safe.
Here is a good video showing you how to peel safely. You can peel a pear like the carrot or like the apple, depending on how much practice you have had.
Next cut up your pear for the blender. Your pear should be soft for this recipe so you don't need a super sharp knife. If any bits are tricky, ask for help.
Chop the stem off the top. Cut the bottom off. Then it will stand up on the board. You can carefully cut it down the middle. If it is slippy ask an adult to help you keep it still while you slice it down. It might get a little tough near the fat part because the core and seeds are a bit harder. A grown up can help with that part if it's tricky.
When you have two halves, lay them flat on the board. Cut them down the middle again. You will now have four long strips.
Cut the seedy core bits out of each half. If you find it difficult using a knife, you might find it easier to use a spoon and scoop out the core bits.
Your pear is now ready for the blender! Pop it all in!
Next add your other ingredients.
Coconut milk - open the can carefully with a grown up - can edges can be sharp. Pour the contents into a jug. A lot of the time there is a thick solid layer on top and then watery stuff underneath. This is ok. Just pour carefully so the thick stuff doesn't pop out in one go and cover you in the water.
With a spoon or small whisk, mix it all together.
You need to add around half of the coconut milk to your blender. Pour the other half into a container and put it in the fridge to use for something else.
Measure a teaspoon of vanilla extract and add it to the blender.
If you want it to be icy and slushy, add 6-8 ice cubes to the blender.
BLEND IT UP!
When it is all smooth, pour a little bit in to a glass. Taste it.
Is it too thick? Add a bit of milk.
Is it sweet enough? If your pears weren't very sweet, add a spoon of maple syrup.
If it is too cool and creamy tasting and you want it more flavourful, you can add half a teaspoon of ground ginger, this will give it a warm little kick.
Try different versions and see which one you like best!
Here is a video of a version using milk and sugar from Pinks Kitchen where you can see the cutting into four strips. Don't have children cut the core out with a big knife though! They can lay it on the board to cut out the core and use a spoon.