Often we think of desserts as objects of desire, to fulfill sweet cravings. How much of these cravings occur because we are not present to the sweetness of the Divine within us? What might be possible in our relationship with desserts if we created and offered them with respect, paying devotion to the Divine within us and all beings? In my experience, when I remember that desserts can represent the sweetness that resides in our hearts, I am able to truly savour them.
In the Hindu tradition, prasad is an offering of devotion (often a sweet or dried fruit), which is presented to the deity or saint and later shared by the guests to conclude the ritual. Eating the prasad is thought to be essential in order to receive the full benefits of the ritual, as it carries the energies generated by the ceremony, the blessings of the Divine. This giving and receiving of prasad invokes the emotional states of generosity and gratitude for our blessings.
“May all eating and drinking be the offering of oblations unto thee.” In the Divine Mother prayer that Swami Radha taught, this line creates the perspective of our everyday nourishment practices as acts of devotion. I have a deeply devotional nature, and often also battle with sweet cravings. When I am able to create the context for dessert as a reminder of my gratitude for the sweet taste of life, and as a blessing that I am receiving, much of the power of my craving is diffused. I slow down and eat with more awareness.
This pear crisp evolved from a creative impulse I had to develop an alternative to an apple crisp for the fall. The addition of the ginger was inspired from a ginger-poached pear recipe because I liked the way its slight pungent note says, “Pay attention!” The pecans in the topping have a rich quality (walnuts could also be used) and the dried cranberries add a colourful texture and astringent accent.
I hope that in a subtle way this dessert, inspired by the harvest time of year, will be a reminder to notice and savour the sweetness of life and all that we receive. And that as we turn inward to prepare for winter, we might find the inner sweetness inside of us too. \