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When the chill autumn air sets in, fresh ripe pears roasted to perfection have to be one of the season’s best treats. What’s extra nice is that these pears can be prepared a day or two ahead: Warmed up at the last minute, they’re just as splendid.
You can make them plain and simple with butter, honey, and pear juice, or add sweet spices and (surprise!) balsamic vinegar for a sophisticated, sweet-tart flavor. Fruit connoisseurs will insist on eating them unadorned, but adding a dollop of fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream can be mighty fine, too. The stove-top time takes 10 minutes; baking time takes 30 to 40 minutes.
- 8 large ripe pears, such as Bosc, d'Anjou or Bartlett
- 2 cups unsweetened pear juice*
- ½ cup mild honey or agave**
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- ½ cup butter or margarine
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Lightly butter a 10 x 15-inch ceramic or glass baking dish or two 9-inch Pyrex pie pans.
- Cut each pear lengthwise into quarters and remove the core.
- Place the pears skin side up in the prepared baking dish or pie pans.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pear juice and honey.
- If you like, stir in the balsamic vinegar, ginger, and/or cinnamon.
- Mix well and pour evenly over the pears.
- Dot with the butter or margarine.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes; then uncover and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the pears are tender.
- Transfer the pears to a platter and pour their sauce into a small saucepan.
- Cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, until reduced by half and somewhat caramelized.
- Drizzle the syrupy sauce on the pears.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
- If stored in the refrigerator, reheat briefly in a microwave or conventional oven until the butter is melted, then serve.
*We like After the Fall brand. If you can't find pear juice, pear nectar will work fine.
There are good organic nectars that contain only pear puree, apple juice, and
** For a vegan, non-dairy version, try Agave syrup instead of honey, and a vegan margarine instead of butter.