Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vanilla Roasted Pears

Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs. Deb never fails to surprise me with something delicious and wonderful. So when I saw this recipe back in October, I knew it had to be one of my Thanksgiving desserts. I ended up with four total, including my apple pie from a couple of years ago. This was the last one, literally. I made it after everyone was digesting and the dishes were in the dishwasher. This will also, finally, wrap up my Thanksgiving recipes.

This one was worth the wait. I bought more pears recently so I can make it again. It's that good.

Vanilla Roasted Pears from Smitten Kitchen:

Serves 4 or so (it can serve 8 with other desserts)

¼ c. sugar
½ vanilla bean
1½ lbs. slightly-under-ripe, fragrant, medium pears, halved though the stem and cored (I, like Deb, went with the perfect for baking Bosc)
2 Tb. lemon juice
2 Tb. water
2 Tb. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 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.
 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. Again, following Deb’s lead, I first slit my halves lengthwise into quarters. Pour the water into the dish. Dot each pear with some butter.
 Roast the pears 30 minutes brushing them occasionally with the pan juices. Turn the pears over and continue roasting, basting once or twice, until tender and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes longer. If the pears are small, test for doneness after 35 or 40 minutes of cooking; a paring knife poked into the thickest part of one should meet with no resistance.

 Serve warm. Deb has some awesome suggestions on how to serve them, including, spooned with the caramelized pear drippings from the pan over ice cream, dolloped with crème fraîche, on your morning oatmeal and over slices of gingerbread. I ended up just serving them warm along with all of the other desserts. They are amazing. The vanilla really sinks in and anything roasted is awesome in my opinion. This is a super easy dessert and should be on your docket any time pears are around.

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