Pears are at about their peak season this time of year in Massachusetts. While I don't love the fruit typically, I do love it in desserts. Poached pears are one of my favorite fruit desserts, though I have never made them due to time constraints and the like. I found this great recipe for vanilla caramelized pears online, from one of may favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen, though while searching for an easy pear sweet treat. I had a few on hand that I wanted to use before they went bad.
Deb from Smitten Kitchen always has terrific recipes with ingredients the normal cook would have on hand. She also incorporates many local foods into her menus, which is a topic that I subscribe to. Her pear recipe was exteremely easy to make, and involved about four or five ingredients. I was able to pop the pears into the oven just as I was sitting down to dinner, ensuring that I had a delicious warm dessert for right after the meal. Deb suggested pairing the fruit with ice cream, which I did not have on hand the first night. However, it was still very tasty. When I had the leftovers though, I was sure to have some ice cream, which I added a sprinkle of cinnamon to, and it really enhanced the flavors.
Try this recipe out with a few pears, for an easily justifiable "healthy" dessert! :)
Vanilla Roasted Pears
adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/2 pounds slightly-under-ripe, fragrant, medium pears, peeled if desired, halved though the stem and cored (I used Bosc but will be giving this recipe a spin with Bartlets later today; Schneider says all varieites work)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sprinkle of cinnamon at serving
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the sugar in a small bowl. With a thin, sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds into the sugar. (Use the pod to make vanilla flavored sugar!)
Arrange the pears in a large baking dish, cut-side up. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruit, then sprinkle with the sugar. Nestle the vanilla pod among the fruit. Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.
Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. It helps to use a turkey baster as well. Turn the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes longer