In the bright lights of the fruit world, pears are sometimes overlooked. They're subtle compared to the zing of citrus and the brightness of berries. But in the chill of winter, the soft velvety comfort of pears is perfect for a light dessert.
This recipe comes from Fresh Every Day – More Great Recipes from Foster's Market by Sara Foster with Carolynn Carreño. Foster's Market consists of two "prepared foods" markets in Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, serving what they call "new Southern" food. Sara Foster's recipes feel like what good home cooking ought to be: straightforward, fresh, seasonal, healthy, easy and comforting. If you were lucky, these recipes are like what you grew up with, maybe with a little updating. They're easy enough for weekdays but nice enough for company.
These roasted pears are one of my favorite recipes from this book. Big flavor but easy prep. Big return on investment. And good enough to make even if they were twice as complicated.
They make a delicious but not too naughty dessert on their own but you can turn them into something fancy with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Roasted Pears with Vanilla Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons butter
3 large ripe, but firm pears
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
vanilla ice cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Use the butter to grease a baking dish large enough to hold 6 pear halves in one layer. Sprinkle the pan with the sugar.
Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the cores. Place pear halves cut side down in the prepared pan.
In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon, if using. Whisk together. Drizzle over pears.
Roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan towards the end, you want nice caramelization, but not burning. You can spoon the sauce over the pears a few times as they cook.
Serve the pears warm with the pan juices spooned over (with vanilla ice cream, if you like).
Adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster with Carolynn Carreño.