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Jan Smith Photo by: Jan Smith

Cardamom Pork Roast with Apples and Figs

While the ingredient list is long, this fruited roast is actually simple to make, and it's a sophisticated dish worthy of your Christmas table. Allow the roast to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Cooking Light DECEMBER 2005

  • Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork, 1/4 cup fruit, and about 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce)


  • Roast:
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 (3-pound) pork loin, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups dried figs, halved lengthwise
  • 2 cups dried apples
  • 1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • 3/4 cup pear nectar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup pear nectar
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 2 tablespoons currant jelly
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare roast, combine first 9 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub mixture over surface of roast; place in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray.

Place figs, apples, and crystallized ginger around roast. Pour 3/4 cup nectar and broth over fruit. Bake at 400° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 145°, stirring fruit frequently. Remove from oven; place roast on carving board, and place fruit in a bowl using a slotted spoon.

To prepare sauce, pour any pan juices into a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup pear nectar, port, and jelly; bring to a boil. Cook 4 minutes or until thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Stir in heavy cream; simmer 2 minutes or until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.

Wine note: Here's a dish that begs for riesling from Alsace, France. In general, the white wines of Alsace are known for their affinity for pork dishes. But in particular, both the acidity and the fruitiness of riesling make it a star pick when flavors go several directions--sweet (figs), spicy (cardamom), herbal (fennel), and exotic (ginger) all at the same time. Try the Hugel et Fils Riesling 2003 from Alsace ($20). -Karen MacNeil

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 363
  • Calories from fat: 18%
  • Fat: 7.3g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.6g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Carbohydrate: 46.4g
  • Fiber: 4.9g
  • Cholesterol: 82mg
  • Iron: 2.8mg
  • Sodium: 212mg
  • Calcium: 61mg

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Cardamom Pork Roast with Apples and Figs Recipe