Saturday, December 11, 2010

Raspberry Pears

Sometimes a simple fruit dessert is just the thing. Especially when winter is coming and you've been baking cookies and not giving them away fast enough. Sometimes something cool and refreshing and not too sweet really hits the spot.

These raspberry pears turned out to be that thing. I had to modify the recipe considerably to make up for ingredients I didn't have:

Namely, "frozen red raspberries in syrup" and framboise or kirsch. I just didn't feel like going out and buying a bottle. Cassis was a nice alternative. And see that lemon? I didn't end up using that either.

Maida wants you to put the pears in lemon water until you cook them. But really, they didn't have time to brown, and they get covered in raspberry sauce. What's the point?

Maida also has you leave the pears uncored. I rather regretted not coring the pears--they were certainly more stable that way, but they were awkward to cut up and eat once they were cooked. I also imagine they'd soak up more raspberry sauce that way.

I don't know what I did, but I had way more raspberry sauce than Maida said I would--probably because I used a 1-lb. bag of raspberries rather than a 10-oz container. But that raspberry sauce was really good on lots of things: we used it on crêpes and on yogurt, among other things.

This is an easy and versatile recipe: you could serve the pears over waffles for breakfast or over ice cream for dessert. They're really good just by themselves as well.

Here's the recipe as I adapted it. Make it when you need a break from butter.

Raspberry Pears

1 16-oz. bag frozen raspberries
2-3 T. sugar
2 T. honey
2 T. + 1 t. framboise, kirsch, or cassis (basically, any liqueur that you think would go with pears and raspberries)
4 pears (I would use Anjou or Bosc but not Bartlett)

Make these the day before you want to eat them.
Toss the raspberries and sugar together and put in a sieve over a glass measuring cup to thaw. When they are thawed (this will take at least 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is), push them through the sieve with a spoon. This is a tedious process and you will end up throwing away a lot of raspberry seeds/pulp, but it makes a nice smooth sauce. Don't forget to scrape the bottom of the sieve! Mix in the honey and 2 T. liqueur.
Peel the pears (core them if you wish) and put them in a saucepan or skillet just large enough to hold them. Pour the raspberry sauce over, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the pears cook about 20 minutes, basting and/or turning occasionally. Put the lid askew on the pan so that some steam can escape and cook another 15-20 minutes, until the pears are just tender.
Transfer the pears to a bowl. Add the teaspoon of liqueur to the sauce and pour it over the pears. Let cool to room temperature and then chill, probably overnight. Serve as you see fit.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe I have some cookies to bake.

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