Sunday, February 27, 2011

Broiled Peppered Pears

David Lebovitz just wrote a splendid piece about food blogging dos and don'ts. I know for sure that my photography falls under the "don't" category, with the cluttered counters and the bad lighting and the crappy camera. How he takes any pictures outdoors in the month of January, I'd like to know.
But one of the best pieces of advice he gave was that it's OK to post a short piece if you don't have a lot of time for a long one. So here's a short piece about broiled peppered pears.

This is the kind of recipe I like to run into when I have four pears on the counter, each in a state of "eat me now or throw me out!" The kind of recipe that's nice when my clothes are telling me, "Easy on the desserts, big girl!" The kind of recipe I can throw together after dinner and still get to bed before 10. You know, baked fruit.

For an easy recipe, this has a really nice, complex flavor--the Armagnac and the pepper and the honey work together to create a rich and spicy flavor that doesn't completely dominate the pears.
I have to admit that I didn't broil these--I was worried that my baking dish was not broiler-safe. I roasted them at about 425, and it took a bit longer than the broiler would have. I'm writing the recipe as Maida would have you do it, but know that roasting will give you good results as well.

Here's the recipe--it may be just the recipe you're looking for.

Broiled Peppered Pears

3-6 pears, depending on the size (I used 2 small Bosc and 2 small Comice)
3 T. honey
1 T. butter
3/8 t. freshly ground pepper
6 T. Cognac or dark rum (I used Armagnac)
Granulated or raw sugar

Heat your broiler (if you have a broiler-safe dish) or heat the oven to 425 (if you worry about your baking dish). Get out a baking dish big enough to fit all your pear halves in one layer and butter it. Peel the pears, halve them, and scoop out the cores with a melon baller. Place cut-side down in the baking dish. Drizzle the honey over and dot with the butter. Grind on the pepper (I think you can just eyeball what looks like enough to you). Finally, pour the booze into the bottom of the dish. Was that easy enough for you?
Put the pears in the oven or under the broiler and watch carefully. Baste and check them every 3 minutes or so. When they are just tender and beginning to brown, sprinkle with sugar and put them back under the broiler until the sugar melts and caramelizes. The whole process should take about 10-15 minutes.
If you're oven-roasting, go ahead and sprinkle on the sugar now. Roast for about 30 minutes, checking and basting every 10 minutes. You're also looking for golden color and some caramelization.
Enjoy these hot, with some crème fraîche or sour cream, or as we did, with a Butterscotch Custard Sauce--that will be the subject of my next brief post.

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