When it comes to simple desserts, there are few things as comforting and satisfying as warm pears. Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of this recipe; treated to a simple roasting, this is an elegant and flavorful way to enjoy them. Fragrant sprigs of sweet rosemary add a wonderful, yet unusually aromatic and peppery flavor to an otherwise ordinary dessert. This is also a perfect dessert for effortless entertaining — just prepare ahead of time and pop into the oven to roast while enjoying your main course. Buy firm pears, as they maintain their shape best with heat.
For the roasted pears:
3 large firm Bosc pears, peeled, quartered and cored
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup good quality honey, such as Wildflower, Orange Blossom or even Rosemary Blossom honey
2 large sprigs of rosemary, cut in half
1 cinnamon stick
Strips of lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
For the whipped crème fraîche:
1 6-ounce container of crème fraîche
1 teaspoon honey
Good quality aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Handheld or electric mixer
Prepare the roasted pears:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Place the pears in a baking dish at least 8 x 8-inch in size. Add the rest of the ingredients and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the pears are just tender and caramelized, basting occasionally with the honey juices.
Prepare the whipped crème fraîche:
Beat the crème fraîche and honey together with a mixer until fluffy and a soft whipped texture. Do not over-whip. Refrigerate until needed.
Remove from the oven and serve warm with the whipped crème fraîche.
[Chef's Note: If you enjoy the pear skins, feel free to leave them on, as they take on a beautiful deep-amber glaze when roasted.]
Place two pear quarters on each plate, spoon a dollop or a quenelle of the whipped crème fraîche on top and drizzle with the extra honey syrup from the roasting dish and balsamic vinegar. Enjoy warm!
Replace the pears with apples for another delicious late-summer or fall dessert.
Recipe and photo by Monica Glass